A Guinness World Record holder in most skips on one leg, Gbenga Ezekiel, has attributed his feat to Coach Chibuisi Ukandu, who encouraged him to challenge the record held by Rasel Islam from Bangladesh.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that he successfully erased Islam’s record of 262 skips in one minute.
Ezekiel set a new Guinness World Record with 265 skips.
The 16-year-old pupil of Ijapo High School in Akure told the NAN on Wednesday in Akure, the Ondo State capital, that not long after he took to skipping, his coach told him that he could break the record.
He said it was during the secondary school inter-school competition that Ukandu identified his talent and started training him and promised to help him apply for the Guinness World record.
“When I was training, the coach said I was close to the Guinness World Record with my performance and that I could do it and when I did it, he helped me apply and I did it and we achieved it,” the Senior Secondary School student said.
Ezekiel said that he normally skips for fun at the back of the class and for recreational purposes until a senior informed him of an inter-school skipping competition where the coach discovered him.
He expressed delight to have broken the record, thereby bringing glory to the country.
He said: “One day when we were skipping at the back of our classrooms, one of the senior perfects came and informed us that there would be inter-school rope skipping at the stadium and we went for training.
“They allowed me to participate in one event and I skipped.
“And that day my coach said I can beat the Guinness World Record and I did.”
Ezekiel said he loved the sport and appealed to the country’s sports authorities to recognise skipping rope as a competitive sport in Nigeria and organise competitions.
“I feel happy that I am the first Ondo State born athlete to achieve the feat since its creation in 1976,” he said.
One of his classmates, Precious Ayodele, said Ezekiel was very nice and a friend of everybody in the class.
Ayodele said when the class heard about the record he had broken, everyone was happy for him and this has also encouraged them to take up skipping too.
The Vice Principal of Ijapo High School, Bukola Faola, said she was happy because the boy had brought the school to limelight in a positive way, saying: “We all applaud the boy for the record set.”
Ukandu, the Coach of Ondo State Rope Skipping, said he was happy that Ezekiel was the first Ondo State born athlete, first Nigerian and first African rope skipper to achieve such record.
Ukandu said the boy did not do well during the inter-school rope skipping championship, but had the desire to improve and always coming back to training after school hours demanding to be trained more.
According to the coach, after the application, he got approval from Guinness and his approval date was given as October 31, 2022.
Ukandu said all the recordings and evidence were sent for approval and a mail was thereafter received that Ezekiel had actually broken the record.