When the beach turned into a ‘gymkhana’

When Puducherry was waking up to a lazy Sunday, the usual visitors of morning walkers, joggers and tourists on the beach road had something unusual in store.

As they crossed the Gandhi statue on promenade beach, some stood back to witness the spectacle while many continued with their routine after casting a glance at Gandhi Thidal. The sea front open space had suddenly turned into a ‘gymkhana’ ground with pull up bars, gymnast’s poles (mallakhamb), rope and dumbbells. Standing outside the rope that enclosed the space with traditional Indian sports equipment’ a group of youngsters clad in orange t-shirts were encouraging to try out the new workouts.

“This initiative is to make Puducherry a fitness paradise of India,” said G. Giriprakash of Pondicherry Parkour, Krishna Nagar. Pondicherry Parkour along with Kshatriya Academy organised a fitness awareness camp on Sunday at Gandhi Thidal from 6 am to 9 am.

By ‘trending the traditional art’, they want people who are just content with taking a stroll on the beach to hit a fitness regime. K. Ganesh of Kshatriya Academy added that walking was not enough. It adapts the body for more physical activity. Hence, there are many exercises that people can start doing. “We have organised this event to create awareness,” he said.

As the reluctant onlookers stood by watching, kids jumped reaching out to the pull up bars, a girl climbed the gymnast’s rope and a young man started push ups. It did not take more than half an hour for the team to pull in participants from the crowd. By 9 am, nearly 102 people joined the team to workout.

Rajagopal, in his 50s, crossed the rope and started running as the volunteers timed his speed. After jumping, he quickly moved to pull the tyres and workout with dumbbells. “I completed all the exercises. All these physical exercises give us more stamina and will keep us fit,” says Rajagopal, a yoga enthusiast.

Pondicherry Parkour is a team of youngsters who strived on their own to introduce traditional sports back with a motive towards making Puducherry a fitness paradise. “I started workouts when I was 14 years old. At that point, I had to travel a very long distance to practise sports. There was no space or equipment available in Puducherry to practise gymnastics. It has been nearly eight years now but nothing much has changed. Hence, we formed a team to promote the traditional way towards fitness and create awareness among youths,” said Mr. Giriprakash.

The youngsters visited the beach road four days a week over the past four months and found that many just take a stroll without any physical exercise, after which they decided to organise the public event.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2021 11:20:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/When-the-beach-turned-into-a-%E2%80%98gymkhana%E2%80%99/article14594995.ece

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