DUBAI// Skipping is proving the latest weapon to help fight childhood obesity with more than 250 pupils taking to Nad Al Sheba sports centre to compete in the first World Inter-school Rope Skipping Championship.
The three day event, the first of its kind in the country, was attended by 103 schools from nine countries.
From the UAE, 111 pupils took part, joining schools from Austria, Belgium, China, India, Malaysia, Pakistan, Egypt and Iran.
The event was split into speed and freestyle. Skippers had 30 seconds to complete as many revolutions as possible, with three judges counting, while looking to impress judges in the freestyle event with tricks and routines.
A world record for speed skipping is held by Chinese schoolboy Cenxiao Lin, 14, from the Qixing School in Guang Zhou Province. He broke his own record of 106 revolutions at the Dubai event on Friday, recording a new benchmark of 110.
Skippers were split into three age groups, under 11, 11 to 14 and 14 to 17, with boys and girls competing in their own events.
Asim Mairaj, an aircrew inspector at the General Aviation Licensing Department, said his son, Rayyan Asim, 11, has improved his skipping after taking it up at his martial arts club.
“My son asked me to look at his skipping and he was so fast, I couldn’t believe how good he was,” he said.
“He has been coached how to skip properly, and he loves it. This function has given them exposure, I wish it had started a long time ago, It is so good for their health and fitness. They have so much energy, it is a great way to burn it off.”
Rayyan Asim, who was representing Sheffield Private School in Dubai, said: “I go to karate and have been skipping for six months.
“The better I have got, the more complicated the routines have got. I practise quite a bit, but not every day.
“I have changed my technique and have got a lot better. I met the Chinese coach and he said I need to keep my body relaxed.”