Sophia’s Extraordinary Jump Rope Skills May 2, 2013 by jamiep
By: Nick Johnson, CFK Communications Intern
“Talent is universal, but opportunity is not.” In Kibera, entrepreneurs have great ideas, but do not have the funds to explore them. Potential students often lack access to affordable education that could foster learning and lead to better careers. Athletes may be able to play soccer or jump rope, but may not have safe, productive outlets to develop their skills.
Never has this phrase rung truer than when talking about Sophia Opiyo. Upon learning about Carolina for Kibera’s jump rope program, the 9-year-old girl joined with just one month remaining before the program’s first in-house competition in 2013. This competition is part of a larger process of assessing skill levels among the jumpers in order to determine placement for ongoing training.
Once given the chance to practice and develop her talents, Sophia began to shine; trained for less than a month, Sophia jumped 67 times in 30 seconds. To put that in perspective, the international record for this type of jumping is 100 times in 30 seconds for the fastest boy, while the East African record for a girl is 80 times in 30 seconds. With less than a month of training, Sophia has already come close to beating the East African record! Her trainers and other members of the Sports Program’s staff immediately recognized Sophia’s talent and the potential she has to take this to a higher level—possibly as a professional jumper who performs for audiences.
Sophia balances her time with other activities. With the encouragement of her coaches, she regularly attends the Darajani Primary School, with practice afterwards on Tuesdays and Fridays. They also reinforce the idea that jumping rope is not just about speed—it’s also about teamwork, being creative, and having fun with the sport.
With the rapid growth she has already shown, it is clear that Sophia’s jump rope skills will only increase. Fortunately—and unlike many Kiberan youth—she has found an outlet to explore her passion, and supportive mentors to help her do it. “Talent is universal, but opportunity is not.” CFK continues to extend such opportunities to Kiberans with the hope that others will excel as Sophia has—and perhaps, to break records of their own.