In November, Mujahid Habib, 22, a native of Rampur in Uttar Pradesh, came out on top at India’s first national parkour competition, which took place in Mumbai. Parkour is an emerging sport that evolved from obstacle course training, and involves running, jumping, vaulting, climbing, swinging and rolling.
The first edition was small, with only eight participants, but of them five were from Rampur, a town that has become an unlikely centre for enthusiasts of the sport. Another participant from the town dropped out eventually because the event clashed with his examinations. The other three were from Mumbai, Hyderabad and Chandigarh.
Town as training ground
Habib began practicisng the sport in Rampur in 2007, after watching videos of Jackie Chan. He did not know at first that Chan was incorporating elements of parkour when he shimmered up walls and rolled effortlessly from one parapet to another.
But not having a name for it did not stop him from attempting to replicate it. Some of his friends joined in. Together, they realised that what they were doing was parkour. They began watching more videos, and within a year formed what they called Team Leonine, Rampur’s first and only team practising parkour.
Seven years later, the team has about 15 practitioners. The youngest is 14 years of age and the oldest 27. Habib himself is now studying architecture in his final year in Delhi and can only help them train on brief visits home. He keeps looking for new places, and Rampur, a rapidly developing city, provides ample ground.
22 Jul 2014Nandini