A ‘Tiktoker’ from Pakistan Asif Magsi has caught the attention of a certain nine-time Olympic champion Carl Lewis. His most recent jaunt on social media involved him leaping over 11 motorcycles, all lined up in a row, in a video posted by Kalim Khan on Twitter that has crossed one million views. Lewis, a man who recorded 65 consecutive long jump victories over a 10-year span, too was one of the viewers, and admirers of the feat.
But the video of the wiry Magsi’s giant leap has resulted in the 21-year-old being for trials by the Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP).
Athletics though isn’t really an occupation for him. Not yet, at least. In the evenings he is the night guard on a relative’s farm. During the day he goes fishing and makes Tik Tok videos. The cricket lover has had no training nor does he follow the athletics. So when Lewis, a four-time Olympic gold medallist in the long jump event, commented about his video on Twitter, saying: “Actually with his lack of fear, he has the perfect mindset,” Magsi didn’t realise his popularity would soar further.
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As per the report Magsi says “I didn’t know who Carl Lewis was,” “Everyone was calling me and congratulating me that Carl Lewis has commented on your video but I was like, ‘Who’s Carl?’ Then I googled his name and I was shocked beyond explanation. It was the happiest moment of my life.”
Though his latest video has brought him fame, Magsi, the sole breadwinner of the family, was often ridiculed for posting videos on social media. The youngster was constantly advised to do something more constructive if he wanted to fulfil his dream of joining the Pakistan army.
“Mera mazak udathe the sab (everyone used to laugh at me). But now that I have gained so much attention they have taken a U-turn,” he says lightly.
His feat has been commended, but experts The Indian Express reached out to say he needs to tweak his technique. India’s only track and field senior World Championship medallist Anju Bobby George analysed another clip of Magsi, where he jumps over a canal.
“It’s a very flat jump. His running is flat,” she says. “The angle at which his front foot lands while running is not ideal and will not allow him to gain maximum thrust. While jumping, he is completing just a half cycle and is not using his hands. After the take-off, his left leg isn’t doing much.”
India’s national jumps coach Bedros Bedrosian echoed Anju’s views. The seasoned coach, however, says there is no way to ascertain how he would fare unless he jumped at an Olympic-standard long jump track.
“Everything about the jump was not right, from the leap to the landing. But he seems to have covered a fair bit of distance so what is the harm in giving him a trial?” the seasoned coach says.
Such adventurous videos sit well with Bedrosian. After all, he is open to taking unconventional routes to spot talent.
“When I was coaching in Oman, I was told that there were few boys who could jump over seven camels in the Salalah desert,” he explains.
“I went to take a look and realised a lot of what I was told was inaccurate. It was only four camels and they were using a platform to jump over the camels. A few of them were taken for further trials at the capital city of Muscat but none fared well.”