Bermuda’s jump rope progress wins plaudits
Two jump rope world champions are on a mission to inspire Bermudian children to take up the sport.
Americans Toni Dickerson and Stewart Isaacs are on the island to take part in the Bermuda Jump Rope Federation midterm camp.
Mr Isaacs, from Ohio, said: “We are helping students who are on their school team as well as national teams, helping them prepare for competition.”
He visited Bermuda when competitive jump rope was introduced seven years ago.
“It’s incredible how much growth this country has had in this sport in such a short time. Most countries don’t progress this far, this fast,” he said.
“I’m supper happy to be here. It’s great.”
Mr Isaacs, a PhD student in aeronautics and astronautics at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology, won the single rope free style at the world championships in 2017.
He said: “It’s nice to come back and to see how things have progressed and to teach the children some new jump rope skills.”
Ms Dickerson, who was the female double dutch jump rope champion at the 2016 world championships, is also an assistant coach for the Bermuda team.
The Chicago nurse, a member of the top Pink Panthers team, said: “I think Bermuda has grown a lot.
Sionna Barton, director of the federation and head coach of the national team, the Bermy Bouncers, said youngsters from across the island were involved in the camp.
Ms Barton said: “We are trying to introduce the sport to children all over the island and get them to understand that it is a lot of fun, it is an actual sport and it be trained on a higher level.”
She added: “We know that to reach the height to compete against people around the world, we need to bring in champions.”
She said Bermuda had been competing in the World Jump rope Championships for seven years and had won medals.
Ms Barton added that there were 13 jumpers on the national team and four of them were elite athletes.
She said: “We have become so saturated in our sports of football, rugby, netball that we forget there are so many alternative sports out here for children who do not fall into those.”
She added: “Jump rope is an actual sport and I think that’s what a lot of people are missing. A lot of people still think of it as skipping in the schoolyard. Anybody can skip but not everybody can jump to the calibre of what the sport is now.”
She said the federation was working with the Bermuda Heart Foundation to implement a programme called “Jump 2B Fit” in schools.
Ms Barton added: “Youth obesity is a serious problem on the island.”
She highlighted that jump rope was one of the best cardiovascular workouts for adults and children.
Ms Baron “It’s fitness, it’s bone density, it’s focus, it’s cross-lateral co-ordination,” she said.
The camp, at Victor Scott Primary in Pembroke, started yesterday and will run until Friday.
Another camp will be held during the Easter break.
A jump rope showcase, which is open to the public, will be held on Friday at 5.45pm.
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