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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Dec 2014

Parkour growing as favourite among Valley youth

Ubaid Shafi Bhat, Hindustan Times  Srinagar, August 18, 2013
First Published: 19:33 IST(18/8/2013) | Last Updated: 19:34 IST(18/8/2013)

Originally introduced by the French, Parkour, one of the fastest growing sports today is emerging as a favourite among the Valley boys.

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With an aim to get from one place to another with precise movements that require utmost efficiency with regards to both time and energy, the traceurs -- as the practitioners of Parkour are called -- are seen performing stunts and steps at various places in the old city.

The sport is slowly getting a lot of visibility and popularity in Kashmir. The passion and interest for Parkour is growing among young Kashmiris and those interested in it are finding likeminded individuals and groups to learn and train with.

Kashmir Free Running and Parkour Foundation (KFPF), the only Parkour group in the Valley, came up when Parkour groups and forums met on the web, got together and started free running.

The traceurs say it requires large physical demands by the body to perform these exercises correctly.

According to the traceurs from KFPF, Parkour is not about competition as much as it is about pushing and testing your limits. "It is an appealing thing, which helps us overcome obstacles efficiently and in an artistic way. But being a beginner, you can't wake up one day and decide to start free running. It takes 4-6 months of training before you actually start free running," said Zahid Shah, founder of the KFPF.

"Parkour inspired us to work as a team. It gives us self satisfaction. We get prepared for the next movement as it broadens our vision," said shah who started Parkour one year ago.

Shah was all praise for the online trainers. "We have no trainers in the Valley. I learnt the steps by watching it on YouTube and other video-sharing sites. We have no gyms and Parkour playgrounds here. All we have to do is to go out and play in the real world," he said.

"At a time when drug addiction is rampant, youth should come forward and join us to get trained. They can join us on official Facebook page," Shah said.

He added the sport is apparently dangerous, but they practice and develop every step in their practice before performing it on concrete floor.

Parkour is a new idea in the gaming world. The traceurs say it is the quickest possible distance from one point to another with artistic movements.

The KFPF has six members that started working a year ago. "In Parkour, you don't compete with others but yourself," said Adil Shalla, a traceur of KFPF.

"Parkour changed my life. I always remain physically and mentally fit," he adds.

Tuha, a co-founder of the KFPF, said, "We were really fascinated when we watched videos on YouTube and other websites. We began to fall in love with it and started practicing it."

The traceurs say Parkour has become an addiction for them because of its creativity and eminence. 

Irfan Mir, a salesman by profession joined the KPFP eight months back. He says he gets less time to practice but because of the team work, he loves the sport. "KFPF is like a family to us and we practice as a family," he added.

Zahid said practicing Parkour outdoors is dangerous. "We always carry the risk of injuries so we need to buy crash mates and other stuff to train safely," he added.

"We lack money and it is a problem for any sport. We need public and government support to buy the belongings so that Parkour can emerge as a favourite sport among the Valley youth," Zahid said.


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