Parkour showdown

Parkour showdown

While others may prefer pavements and stairs, parkour enthusiasts Benjamin Matchap, 20, and Sean Tan, 22, choose to take the much more difficult route - bouncing off walls and vaulting over railings.

Sunday, the two will compete against other local parkour practitioners at the Superfly Parkour Showdown.

It is part of Licence2Play 2013, a gaming and youth lifestyle exhibition organised by Sphere Exhibits. The event includes a Cosplay Runway Show, an escape game and live gaming tournaments. The parkour competition, organised by parkour school and agency Superfly Monkey Dragons, is believed to be the first of its kind in Singapore.

Mr Matchap, a student in Lasalle College of the Arts, feels like he has been training for it since he started practising parkour seven years ago.

The sport originated in France, where traceurs (French for tracers) move through their environment, including urban structures, by vaulting, rolling, running, climbing and jumping.

Mr Matchap usually trains twice a week.

Despite feeling prepared, he is not confident about winning tomorrow's showdown, which will pit traceurs against each other in a time-trial through a five-stage obstacle course.

He said: "The obstacle course might not be my element as I am better at climbing than other movements.

"There are different people with different strengths participating so it really is anybody's game."

Mr Matchap said he was immediately attracted to the sport when he started doing it.

He said: "I have always felt the sport fits very well with my rebellious nature.

"Parkour makes you think out of the box and break down the barriers of what you think is possible."

Engineer Sean Tan decided to be a traceur a year ago after being surprised at how much it built his mental strength.

He said: "I was previously heavily involved in cycling, running and swimming but felt none of those sports built my mental strength like parkour did.

"The sport also allowed me to understand more about motion and the way my body operates."

Mr Tan is not worried about how he will fare tomorrow.

He said: "To me the sport is not about competition at all, what matters the most is just having fun with fellow traceurs.


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