‘Saudi Spiderman' creates buzz with parkour

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JEDDAH. KAZINFORM - With quick and repetitive moves that carry danger and risk, a Saudi student, wearing traditional dress, has posted videos while practicing parkour in the streets of Riyadh.

The young man has been called Saudi Spiderman by social media users since his movements resemble those of Spiderman in defying gravity, flying and overcoming obstacles.
Parkour - or the activity of moving rapidly through an area, typically in an urban environment, negotiating obstacles by running, jumping, and climbing - is a sport popularized by Georges Hebert, a French Navy officer. He discovered the sport by chance among original African tribes, and revived it in the 1980s before it gained great popularity in the late 1990s and in the 21st century, especially in Western countries, The Arab News reports.
Abdul Rahman Shalhoub, the young man responsible for the videos, said he wore Saudi dress to attract attention to this new sport, which depends on overcoming obstacles and focuses on moving from one point to the next by making use of various movements that combine gymnastics and martial arts with the highest level of speed and smoothness and using physical abilities.
Shalhoub, a university freshman, used compound walls and parked cars as obstacles to jump on instead of natural obstacles. He said he adapted the game to suit Saudi situations, confirming that those who want to perform the sport should be in good physical condition and able to move at high speed. Lightness and concentration also allows a person to jump on walls and house tops with circular movements.
He said he got interested in parkour when he saw it on YouTube. He liked what he saw and this he decided to try out. He said the game was built on new challenges that demands creative thought on the part of the player, since each move creates a new challenge and calls on the player to use what he has learned.
Shalhoub added that he trained himself by using available educational methods on YouTube. He uses his free time to practice the sport and jump from buildings and roofs. He said he is planning to train others who are interested in practicing parkour and wants to open a club to develop training that will be suitable for Saudi youth.
He said that he participated in the Middle East and North Africa Parkour Championship in Qatar in November 2015. He was not among the first three winners but the participation in itself is a great achievement, he said.
He said he had registered with the Saudi Talent Competition which is under the General Sports Authority, and he hopes to win first place in the sport.

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