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COMING from a family of skippers, former teacher Lisa Buchanan introduced jump rope to a group of primary students at Amaroo School as a “bit of lunchtime fun”.
It wasn’t long until its popularity picked up and the lunchtime group turned into a demonstration team with the Heart Foundation, which then saw them perform around Canberra and compete nationally.
In 2010 the club Jazzy Jumpers was formed and now, a group of skippers from it will fly to two overseas locations in July and compete internationally.
Jazzy Jumpers’ coaches Lisa Buchanan, 37, of Bonner, and her sister, a multiple world-skipping champion Nicole Brown, 28, of Jacka, are excited to see 18 of these athletes heading to Orlando, to represent Canberra at the World Jump Rope Championships from July 1-10.
Another further five athletes are then heading to the FISAC World Rope Skipping Championships in Shanghai in late July.
Fresh into skipping retirement, Nicole moved to Canberra to help start the Jazzy Jumpers eight years ago.
“A lot of my childhood was skipping and training around the world, so it’s nice to see so many kids have that opportunity as well,” Nicole says.
Her and Lisa are two of four sisters, who each grew up with skipping, or in Lisa’s case, creating choreography for the girls.
At the age of 12, their family moved to Brisbane where Nicole joined Cleveland Air Magic, which, she says, is one of the strongest clubs in the world.
Nicole skipped with them for about eight years and during that time travelled the world representing Australia.
She competed in Junior Olympics Jump Rope and four Rope Skipping World Championships, which is the big one out of the two.
In 2004, she was part of the 12-14 girls team, which won the Rope Skipping World Championships in the Gold Coast and then, in 2006, won in her age group again.
In 2010, Nicole was part of the only Australian team in the open women’s age division to place at the championships.
These days she coaches the Canberra kids, which includes, Ella Baric, 14, of Amaroo, who is currently training for World Jump Rope.
Ella says she was hooked after watching her sister, who started six months before her, skip.
“I thought it was something new and different that I hadn’t seen much of before,” she says.
“As well as being exciting and fun I also knew it was a very good sport to keep your fitness up and your heart healthy.
“The thing that I most enjoy about skipping is going to training and working with the lovely group of people that I do. Everyone is so encouraging and kind. We have an amazing little community.”
As well as being excited to go overseas, Ella says she’s honoured to represent Canberra in Orlando.
Ella and the 17 others will take part in categories such as single speed and freestyle events, pairs and teams speed and freestyle events as well as double dutch, which might include skills such as gymnastics and push ups.
“There’s so many different types of skipping you can do,” Nicole says.
“It’s really good fitness, strength and it’s also really good for rhythm because a lot of skipping is done to the beat of music.”
Until then, the Jazzy Jumpers will have their last performance practice at this year’s National Championship at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) from June 9-11.