Parkour athletes worldwide gather in Singapore for Asian Parkour Championships

More than 40 local and overseas athletes have registered to compete - both in speed and style - for prizes worth up to $1,000.
More than 40 local and overseas athletes have registered to compete - both in speed and style - for prizes worth up to $1,000.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID
More than 40 local and overseas athletes have registered to compete - both in speed and style - for prizes worth up to $1,000.
More than 40 local and overseas athletes have registered to compete - both in speed and style - for prizes worth up to $1,000.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID
More than 40 local and overseas athletes have registered to compete - both in speed and style - for prizes worth up to $1,000.
More than 40 local and overseas athletes have registered to compete - both in speed and style - for prizes worth up to $1,000.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

SINGAPORE - A small group of young boys began doing parkour - running, vaulting and climbing over urban obstacles - in Singapore in 2004. The extreme sport has since then gained momentum as a movement.

This year's Lion City Gathering (LCG), an annual parkour meeting organised by Parkour Singapore, will double up as the first Asian championships. More than 40 local and overseas athletes have so far registered to compete - both in speed and style - for prizes worth up to $1,000.

Mr Koh Chen Pin, 24, vice-president of Parkour Singapore, said the event aims to foster a "community spirit" between the local and global practitioners.

It also aims to provide an avenue for talented athletes to be recognised and rewarded for their skills, he added.

"This is the third time we are having a competition during LCG, but the first time having it as the Asian Parkour Championships. We are inspired by other events like the North American Parkour Championships, Air Wipp Challenge and Redbull's Art of Motion," said Mr Koh.

Last year's LCG attracted about 200 local and overseas participants.

This year, about 150 practitioners from more than 11 countries, such as the United States, Britain, Australia, Indonesia, China and Japan, will be taking part.

The competition, open to men, women, and children under the age of 15, will take place on Sunday (June 24). It will kick off at noon at The Star Vista where obstacles have been set up.

Among the competitors is Mr Dominic Di Tommaso, 26, an Australian parkour athlete sponsored by Redbull. Mr Di Tomasso has been actively competing in parkour competitions, such as the Redbull Art of Motion, for the last three years.

He said winning should not be the prime consideration for participants.

"The main purpose for everybody, I think, is to come and to enjoy movement, learn and progress, share knowledge, and experience good memories," he said.


The Asian Parkour Championships will take place at The Star Vista, where obstacles have been set up, on June 24, 2018. ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

Members of the public can also sign up for parkour workshops at The Star Vista on Saturday, which includes workshops for senior citizens, ladies, and children.

The ladies parkour workshop will be led by Ms Hikari Izumi, 22, a Japanese athlete who has been practicing the art of movement for almost six years.

Parkour Singapore estimates that there are about 100 practitioners actively training in Singapore, but only a fifth are female.

Ms Izumi hopes that women who come for her all-female workshop can feel more confident about their abilities and have fun.

Ms Nina Saburi, 27, a Singaporean who picked up parkour last year, is interested in attending Ms Izumi's workshop.

She said: "I am very inspired by female traceurs (a French term for parkour practitioners), because I don't think there are enough female traceurs in Singapore... And I think it is something I will learn a lot from since it will be the first parkour workshop I am attending."