Published: 23rd June 2021
How Aadhav Sugumar climbed and hooped (yes, hula hooped) his way into the Guinness World Records
Aadhav Sugumar can climb 50 steps while hula hooping and he does it in just 18.28 seconds. We realise it's no easy feat and find out how he does it. This is his hoopy story
How fast can you climb fifty steps — that's around four flights of stairs? The average person needs at least a minute to make that climb. Add hula hooping to the mix and this seemingly simple task looks almost unattainable. But for nine-year-old Aadhav Sugumar, it is just another day in his life. The boy can climb 50 steps whilst hula hooping, in just 18.28 seconds. His super fast climb even earned him a Guinness World Record, which he managed to achieve in April this year. The previous record holder did it in 23 seconds.
So, what got Aadhav into hula hooping in the first place? His mother, Indu, tells us the story, "When he was six years old, Aadhav wanted to learn juggling. We enrolled him at the Gokulnath Unique Talent Academy so that he could learn. However, when he started attending classes there, he got interested in other things too, one of them being hula hooping." Aadhav's love for hula hooping began about two years ago and he has been perfecting his craft ever since. However, it was during the lockdown last year that he really found the time to hone his hoop skills.
Aadhav and Indu after he achieved the world record
Indu says the idea of attempting a Guinness World Record came from the academy's founder, K Gokulnath, who himself holds several records. But attempting a world record is no easy feat. Aadhav decided to practise at metro stations and other public buildings in Chennai before attempting the record. "We first attempted it in December 2020 at Kumaran Kundram Temple in Chromepet, which had 50 continuous steps. But when we sent the entry, it was rejected. Guinness rules required that the steps be at least 7 inches or more in height. But some of the temple's steps were not built to that height as they are built with natural blocks of granite," explains Indu, adding, "In India, most of the steps in public buildings are built to a height of 6 inches. So, we knew that it would be difficult to find a public building with 50 continuous steps."
Since public buildings were no longer an option, Aadhav and Indu began looking at other temples across the city and beyond. "We travelled to the outskirts of the city and nearby districts looking for temples that had steps of the correct height and that were wide enough for Aadhav to hula hoop," says Indu. Their search almost became futile until they noticed something in the guidelines. "We contacted the Guinness team to ask them whether a large landing in between two sets of steps could be considered fair. The team said that it was possible as long as the timer doesn't stop," recalls Indu.
Aadhav started hula hooping two years ago
And so they went back to another part of Kumaran Kundram Temple which had the steps of the required height but there was a landing after the 38th step. "Aadhav ran through the landing to reach the next flight of 12 steps and completed the climb whilst hula hooping, in 18.28 seconds," says Indu. This time, their entry was accepted and Aadhav officially broke the previous world record.