Friendly Competition: The CFK Sprinters Compete Amongst Themselves May 13, 2015  by      

By: Kennedy Juma, Sports Association Program Officer

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Over the past couple of years, you’ve heard all about the CFK Sprinters’ competitions in Kenya, East Africa, and the U.S. But the Sprinters don’t stop there—to challenge and motivate each other, they even hold competitions amongst themselves from time to time! Organized a couple of times a year, these in-house tournaments give jumpers a chance to engage in friendly competition with their peers. Even more importantly, the in-house competitions monitor and grade the jumpers, and help seasoned athletes as well as rookies understand the rules and regulations of the jump rope sport.

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The Sprinters’ most recent in-house competition, held on the first of May, brought together 65 jumpers from the team. We had a massive turn-out from the community, with residents crowding around to watch the live performance. Perhaps this isn’t surprising, since it was the last day before school would start up again after a long vacation. This made it even sweeter for athletes who attend boarding school in other parts of Kenya—the tournament served as a nice send-off for them, with the rest of the team bidding them farewell until the next school holiday in August.

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Like all tournaments, the in-house competition seeks to give jumpers a chance to compete and challenge their peers to work hard and improve. As such, the coaches give out several medals for the best performers, which encourages and motivates every jumper to work hard and give it their all. However, because it’s just Carolina for Kibera competing, it gives the coaches some time to work one-on-one with jumpers in a low-pressure environment.

The tournament also featured an educational component. Jump rope is still a relatively new arrival in Kenya, and Kibera specifically. Many members of the community do not know the rules of jump rope (and some do not believe it is a real sport), or how the power of sport can be harnessed to teach kids about confidence, healthy habits in their daily lives, friendship, and teamwork. Children who came to watch got a chance to dance alongside the jumpers and, if they were old enough, to practice their moves with a rope. By encouraging children from the community to try out jump rope through competitions like these, Carolina for Kibera can reach more at-risk youth in the community with messages of peace, health, and self-esteem. Who knows? If given the opportunity, they could turn out to be world-class athletes one day.

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