Keira Hall, eight, competes in the Rope Skipping Alberta jump rope competition at the Abbey Centre in Blackfalds Saturday afternoon. Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff

Provincial jump rope competition held in Blackfalds

Some of Alberta’s best jump-ropers competed in Blackfalds this weekend.

Rope Skipping Alberta hosted a competition at the Abbey Centre, where athletes competed in individual skills and freestyle Masters events, on Saturday.

“This is our first event of the year,” Tannis Coen, Rope Skipping Alberta vice-chair.

The skills competition is “all based on speed, double-unders, triple-unders, endurance. In the afternoon’s freestyle (competition), it’s about difficult tricks choreographed to music. It’s judged kind of similarly to a figure skating routine, where you have required elements you have to meet and the score is based on how difficult the trick is and if you’re on-beat with the music.”

About 90 athletes, as young as six years old, competed Saturday, said Coen.

“The biggest age group is between is 12 to 14, but there are also athletes as old as 30-plus,” she said.

“These guys train so hard. Some of them will train two to three hours three or four times a week. A lot of these athletes are multi-sport athletes, so this is great conditioning for other sports. Some play hockey, some play volleyball, some do dance. This is a really cool sport because you’re combining gymnastics, conditioning, strength and all kinds of different things into skipping.”

Coen praised the athletes for the work they put in to compete at this level.

“It can take hours to get some of these tricks down, it takes so much co-ordination. A lot of these guys compete against each other, but it’s also about reaching personal bests as well.

“They have a lot of friendships across Alberta so they’re competing against their friends. It’s really cool they have so much drive to do this sport.”

Rope Skipping Alberta will host a team competition in Wetaskiwin in the beginning of March. Then provincials will be in Calgary in April, nationals will be held in Kamloops, B.C., in May and world will be held in Ottawa, Ont., this July.

The international competition is “where a lot of these older athletes are reaching. They’re aiming to qualify for worlds because it’s a huge, huge event,” said Coen.

Coen said she hopes to see more athletes try competitive jump rope.

“We’re trying to grow the sport here in Alberta.”

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