Striking a perfect pose: Love for Malkhamb keeps youngsters going
Malkhamb is all about performing various asans (drills) on poles, ropes and hanging malkhambs. Women’s competitions are conducted only on ropeUpdated: Nov 10, 2019 16:32 IST
Two youngsters from the city – Arya Abhyankar (13) and Adwait Pendse (15) - never had an interest in yoga, but once they were introduced to Malkhamb, they began doing yogasans on ropes and poles.
“We like Malkhamb,” both say, in tandem, for a sport that is just beginning to break out of its traditional, cliquish following, into a more mainstream appreciation of what is, to the untrained naked eye, a combination of gymnastics and yoga.
“When you are participating in Malkhamb, you don’t need not to do any other exercises,” explains 13-year old Arya Abhyankar, who won a gold medal in the under-14 category at the 2017 National Malkhamb Championship.
2019 has been a fruitful year for Abhyankar, as she grabbed top spot in the Zilla Parishad Malkhamb Championship and the district championship.
Malkhamb is all about performing various asans (drills) on poles, ropes and hanging malkhambs. Women’s competitions are conducted only on rope.
“There are type of asans we have to do in 90 seconds. Depending on how gracefully and perfectly we execute our drills we advance in the championships,” says Abhyankar, who expects nothing but gold in the ongoing 39th State Malkhamb Championship at the Maharashtriya Mandal, Tilak road.
From tree climbing to Malkhamb
For Adwait Pendse, climbing trees was the one thing he used to love and someone suggested his mother he try Malkhamb. Ever since, he has been associated with the sport.
The son of yoga teacher, Pendse was never inclined towards yoga, but Malkhamb infused a new energy into his approach to staying fit.
“I was six-years-old when I first started pole Malkhamb and today, I perform on all three apparatus. During my initial days I used to feel all these drills are very hard, but now it is nothing. I enjoy all my drills and want to develop new drills in the future as well,” says Pendse, who finished fourth in the district championship.
Abhyankar and Pendse train under coach Abhijeet Bhosale at the Maharashtriya Mandal.
Know the sport
- The sport was practiced in the 16th and 17th century to improve fitness levels. The sport improves flexibility, strength, coordination and agility.
- Malkhamb Federation of India (MFI) came into existence in 1981 and since, has 29 state units who run the state championships.
How sport is played
The athlete performs various drills (asans) on a pole, rope and hanging malkhamb on which he is given points by a jury of five judges.
Hang on a pole, then what?
Athlete has 90 seconds where s/he has to perform acrobatics/gymnastics horizontally and vertically, followed by the dismount
In the second round, difficulty levels increase
Types of apparatus
Fixed malkhamb: A vertical pole fixed in the ground. Generally teak wood or sesame (a type of rose wood) is commonly used because of physical properties such as toughness and soft surface. Castor oil is applied to its surface in order to reduce friction and minimise the injuries. Pole is 10-12 feet high ith a diametre of five to six inches at the bottom, and 1.5 to two inches at the top.
Hanging malkhamb: A small version of the fixed malkhamb, generally used for balancing exercises. The wooden pole is suspended with the help of a hook and chain. It is hung at a height of 3.5 to four feet above the ground.
Rope malkhamb: Instead of poles, drills are performed on the rope. Various yoga and gymnastic positions are performed gracefully, without getting tied up in knots on the rope.
Other types (not performed during championship): Niradhar (support-less pole), cane, bottles, floating platforms,and with weapons.
Competitions conducted in following age groups:
Male: under-12 (mini); under-14 (sub junior); under 18 (junior); above 18 (senior/open)
Women: under-12 (mini); under-14 (sub junior); under 16 (junior); above 16 (senior/open)
50% or more marks to qualify for next round.
Individual all-round championship
All-round champion, collectively, on all apparatus in a particular age group
Decide champion on each apparatus
10 points per apparatus
Source: Malkhamb Federation of India