Engineering student Ashok is popularising the traditional Indian sport, Mallar Kambam, by offering free coaching to students.
“Though Mallar Kambam has been around for centuries, it lost its sheen due to various reasons. The problem is the public don’t know what it is about. I’ve always been fascinated by this unique sport, where a person performs aerobic and acrobatic stunts and yoga poses on a fixed or hanging pole or a rope. Yoga poses will be too slow and gymnastics/exercises will be done in a fast way,” he tells us.
Ashok has participated in many state-level and national-level tournaments and bagged many medals. All types of Mallar Kambam are practised by both men and women, though pole Mallar Kambam is more popularly practised by men and boys and rope Mallar Kambam by women and girls. “It’s quite challenging to perform dangerous stunts on a fixed pole — the performer needs to have a great skill set and should undergo vigorous practice on the floor. He/she should require both physical and mental strength — a small misbalance can cause fatal damage,” shares Ashok, a resident of Ambattur.
The third-year engineering student at Rajalakshmi Engineering College has taken the initiative to create awareness on the sport. “A World Mallakhamb Championship was held in Mumbai last month and 6-7 countries participated in it. But the sport needs better recognition and I am trying to popularise it among the younger generation. With the support of my coach, we are offering free coaching to 85 children through Thamizhan Mallakhamb Sports Academy in Villivakkam. Many parents should come forward and support the sport,” he says.