Jump Rope Association of Kenya – JRAK
Jumping rope as a sport is relatively a new concept in Kenya, with there being a Jump Rope Association of Kenya governing the sport being news to many. Known as jump rope, the game encompasses various styles and events. It goes beyond the typical skipping of a rope or double dutch to incorporate elements of acrobatics for those more advanced. Wondering what that looks like? Click here to view clips on their YouTube channel.
It began with the pioneers volunteering at Carolina for Kibera playing football, representing Kenya in tournaments within Africa and beyond. Michael Fry of the One World One Rope visited Carolina for Kibera in 2010 looking to train people in jump rope. About 20 people volunteering signed up for a week’s training at the Kibera DC grounds.
It was a new sport, and though most were fit; it was not void of challenges. It required paying close attention to Fry and adapting the various jump rope moves he introduced. It became apparent that apart from jump rope being a vigorous sport, it required creativity and discipline. Their first introduction to the jump rope tournament world was in the same year in Mombasa where they competed against Tanzania. They have since competed in The US (mainly) and Europe with varying degrees of success.
In the last World Jump Rope Championships held in Florida 2018, JRAK came back with 40 medals and 4 ribbons.
Stereotypes affecting jump rope in Kenya
Apart from men in gyms and boxers, jump rope is largely viewed as a female activity. Even when starting out, of the ten children who formed the first team, only one was male. That affected team performance when competing in global jump rope tournaments where gender balance was a concern.
Another stereotype affecting the uptake of jump rope in Kenya is which communities can get involved. Given that it started in Kibera, other communities have been slower in seeing past the origins. Anyone can take part in the sport. The starter pack only includes a jump rope, sports shoes, and space. Add resources, motivation, creativity, and you’re well on your way to being a pro.
Media coverage and sponsorship
There has been interest in the sport in Kenya. Currently, it is portrayed as a youth’s sport for those living in disadvantaged communities but JRAK is looking to change that. Notable interviews are those the organization has had with VOA, Citizen TV, K24, KTN and performing on the Churchill Show in 2016. Thus far their sponsors and partners include: One World One Rope, World Jump Rope Federation, Claretian missionaries, Nairobi Sports House (Moi Avenue), Kuza Media, The Hub-Karen, Color Talk, Rugby shop, Brand Kenya, Vita Merchant, Makini School, Little Rock EDC, and the children’s parents.
Partnership with Picha Booth
When looking for a social impact angle, we thought that JRAK could make the ideal partner for various reasons. We love how JRAK uses sports to empower and encourage children. We saw it as a good marriage; jump rope as a sport is FUN, and like them, Picha Booth is in the FUN business!
We’re currently volunteering by attending practice sessions and offering our industry expertise with regards to how to push for broader reach. We hope that like us, you’ll grow to love the sport for what it is; a fun way to get in shape, develop mental focus and be part of a community of like-minded individuals.
Check them out on Instagram & Facebook @jumpropeke
As always, thanks for stopping by.