Amid action packed and crowd favourite sports like cricket,boxing and wrestling among others it was highly unlikely that a sport like jump rope would attract much attention during the 57th School Games Nationals this week. But the scene was a bit different at the Thyagaraj Stadium where the Jump Rope Federation of India got the chance to exhibit and conduct competitions in their sport for the first time in the school nationals. As the participants flung themselves in the air during complex drills requiring precision,starry-eyed aspirants watched with awe from the sidelines.
Rope jumping may have a nondescript identity when it comes to the powerhouses in sport but it has charm and glamour of a different kind. The players make trips to the UK and USA for participating in competitions such as the World Championships but even that pales in contrast to the red carpet welcome they get to various reality shows and talent shows on television. The small screen has been attracting kids since the days of Boogie Voogie and even if jump rope may not reach the popularity charts that other mainstream sports enjoy,it has given youngsters a platform to broadcast themselves worldwide.
No one knows this better then Rajdeep Singh. The 21-year-old boy from Raipur,Chhattisgarh is not only a jumper himself but was also training the Chattisgarh team for this editions school games. With plenty of interviews to his credit,Rajdeep knows the drill in and out. After all,he has shared the small screen with Preity Zinta on the show Guinness World Record – Ab India Todega. His feat of finishing 159 alternate skipping steps in 30 seconds on the show has also got him an entry in the famed Guinness Book of World Records.
His next assignment was even bigger. He was invited by China Central TV channel for a one on one clash with the best rope jumper from China and he won that edition of World Records Special as well.
Now in his second role as mentoring and initiating kids to the game,Rajdeep can cite his example as to things they can achieve by following this game. During the school games week,we did a demonstration at India Gate as well and got a good feedback. This activity is a combination of dance,music and skills and its entertainment factor is such a big attraction that we dont have to do much to convince more and more people to join us, Rajdeep,who has also performed in other TV shows like Sonys Entertainment Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega and Colors Indias Got Talent,says.
There are more activities to attract commonplace crowds to initiate them to the sport. In a recent event in City Mall in Raipur,which was broadcasted and live streamed internationally,rope jumpers set a new record with 24 hours of continuous demonstration. Though despite tabulating 1 lac 62,000 steps in all,India finished third in that competition which was conducted worldwide in a similar fashion and yet this sport gives a lot of hope of achieving fame to talented,starry-eyed kids.