The Most Extreme Summer Sports: Kite Fighting

These sports aren't necessarily deadly, but they certainly instill an imminent sense of death—which is what makes them so thrilling and why we can't look away.

Aug 7, 2013
Outside Magazine

Kite fighting    Photo: Md.altaf.rahman/WIkimedia

In countries like Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan, flying kites extends far beyond the fascination of children and whimsical adults. In these nations, kite flyers use strings coated with glue and crushed glass to wage battle against those who dare invade their air space. Cut strings send vanquished kites falling back to earth, the victor remaining aloft.

But the razor sharp kite strings sometimes miss their target, and instead slice the throats of rickshaw drivers, bicyclists, and other kite flyers. Fighters stumble off rooftops or catch their kites in power lines, and succumb to electrocution. In 2007, during Pakistan’s Basant festival, 11 such deaths occurred after the temporary lifting of a kite-flying ban. Kite bans now extend across Asia, but in many places the deadly sport persists.

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