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Astonishing contortion record broken by South African gymnast, Astounding reshaping record broken by South African acrobat

 

Zama Mofokeng is no stranger to record-breaking. In fact, you may recognize his name from the various videos online of his incredible back handspring skills. 


The South African broke three records in 2021 alone:


Most consecutive back handsprings (one hand) - 36

Most consecutive back handsprings (interlocked hands) - 36

Most consecutive back handsprings (alternating hands) – 31

But, more recently, he has branched out from his back handspring speciality to exhibit his contortion skills. 


For the latest episode of Stumbo Record Breakers, a show airing in South Africa that showcases the diverse talents of ordinary South Africans, Zama attempted a brand new record for the most full body revolutions in a backbend position in one minute.


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Zama starting position for most full body revolutions backbend position one minute


This record requires a great deal of flexibility.


You must begin in a backbend position, with only the hands, feet and head in direct contact with the ground. You then have to step your feet around the head and arms in a full circle  - keeping your head and chest in the same position during the attempt. 


Conditions were not ideal for Zama's attempt, however.


It took place in Germiston on 19 August 2022 – during the winter in South Africa. 


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"It’s very cold today, it’s about 7 or eight degrees," said Sofia Greenacre, the official Guinness World Records adjudicator onsite to authenticate Zama’s record attempts. 


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"The records he’s attempting are extremely physical and obviously it gets tricky when your body can’t warm up."


The location chosen for the most full body revolutions in a backbend position in one minute attempt also proved difficult. 


Zama performing the record for most full body revolutions backbend position one minute


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It was originally attempted in the middle of an athletics track, but the dry, loose grass proved an unstable foundation and didn’t allow Zama's feet to get the purchase they required.


"I think this place is too slippery", Zama said, "so I need to change the position."


However, once the attempt location was moved to the more stable ground of the athletics track, Zama was able to achieve the record with 19 full body revolutions.


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On the same day, Zama also reattempted his records for the most consecutive back handsprings (interlocked hands) and the most consecutive back handsprings (alternating hands) but, due to the bad weather conditions, was unsuccessful. 


Zama reattempting his record for the most consecutive back handsprings (interlocked hands)

Zama reattempting his record for the most consecutive back handsprings (interlocked hands)


However, as Adjudicator Sofia commented, Zama’s current four record titles are still an extraordinary feat. 


"Four Guinness World Records titles for one person is amazing, especially when they’re this tricky."


"I think it’s a testament to the skill required for the back handspring records that the slightest change in weather can make it next to impossible to achieve. I think it really knuckles down how impressive it is that he has these records in the first place." – Adjudicator Sofia Greenacre 


Born and raised in Tembisa, South Africa, with no access to proper gymnastics equipment or training, Zama shared that his skills are completely self-taught. 


"How come a man from Tembisa becomes a world record holder? Here in Tembisa we don’t have schools of gymnastics and all of that."


"It’s simply because of the mindset that I want to be unique, I want to be known all over the world for what I do. So that’s how I because the man I am today.


"We’re all born the same. The only thing that makes us different is the way we think and how we use what we have."


Zama smiling in hat and coat holding guinness world records certificate


Zama’s record attempt featured on episode five of Stumbo Record Breakers, airing every Sunday on e.tv.

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