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- Monday, June 04, 2012 - From Print Edition


LAHORE: After having appeared on Geo Television Network’s youth entertainment channel “Aag Tv” on July 23, 2010, the 21-year old Abdullah Ahmad Khan (aka Sanki King) is now flashing headlines in prestigious Middle Eastern media outlets like the Gulf News for his expertise in Parkour, a physical discipline which combines acrobatic moves around objects involving flips, jumps, rolls and vaulting.


A peek into the history and origin of Parkour reveals that this non-competitive sport, which focuses on efficient movement around obstacles, was developed in France by a man called David Belle.


Though the craze of parkour is driving the Pakistani youth crazy, the Gulf News notes that there are no official classes to teach this art in the country. The Gulf News (June 2, 2012 edition) states: “The rise of social networking sites YouTube and Facebook — have helped fuel this new phenomenon on the streets — from Islamabad to Karachi. Abdullah Ahmad Khan (aka Sanki King) likes to think of himself as the pioneer of the parkour scene in Karachi. Sanki started training six years ago after watching a parkour video on YouTube. The 21-year-old Fine Arts student was instantly hooked to this unique form of art and it didn’t take long for him to start jumping from walls and flipping over objects in the proximity.”


The esteemed Gulf newspaper adds: “Parkour enthusiasts are often referred to as “traceurs” in street lingo and in Sanki’s case, people refer to him as a man performing “monkey tricks.” Like many other young people in Pakistan, Sanki is part of a growing generation looking for changes from persistent power shortages, rising poverty and never-ending political feuds. With 63 per cent of the population under the age of 24, Pakistan’s next generation is truly changing the script as Internet and mobile phones are fast taking over as primary means of communication.”


“The Gulf News” quoted Abdullah Ahmad Khan as saying, “Parkour is my passion because it challenges my physical capabilities and boundaries,” Sanki said. “Free running is something I do for self-satisfaction, because of its unique, physically challenging tricks and movements. Before the latest technology came along, there was no way people with common interests could engage with each other even in the same city, while connecting with foreigners was an alien thing. Now, every other person has an email or Facebook account. My generation has friends abroad and knows countless things about other countries and culture.”


The Karachi-based Abdullah Ahmed Khan is also a self-made professional graffiti artist, best known for his ball-pen illustrations and 3D graffiti. Graffiti, we all know, is “writing or drawings scribbled, scratched, or sprayed illicitly on a wall or other surface in a public place.” He also promotes Urdu Graffiti and doodle art.


He is also adept in the art of B-boying or “break-dancing,” the style of street dance that had originated as a part of hip-hop culture among African American and Latino youths in New York City during the early 1970s. “The Gulf News” further states: “Bollywood actor Aamir Khan has also reportedly mastered parkour moves for his role in the upcoming action movie Dhoom 3.


Like Abdullah Sanki, Abraham Dean from Islamabad never had any formal parkour training and yet he is now one of the best traceurs in the country. The 23-year-old, nicknamed Aboo Dean, was born in a small Christian community in Taxila, close to Islamabad. From a very young age, Aboo was fascinated by acrobatics.”