The new digital and social media to discover Arabia and the Middle East. Offbeat. Innovative.

Liberty in Leaps: How Parkour is Providing Freedom for Gaza Youth

Gaza’s youth have a new and rapidly growing form of recreation: parkour, the infamous street sport which involves jumping, running, and climbing over urban terrain. The sport has become famous due to some of the practitioner’s mind-boggling feats, such as jumping between rooftops across gaps, or grappling along the sides of buildings where one mistake can be fatal.  

The unemployment rate for the region, which hovers around 50%, has led many of Gaza’s more adventurous youth to begin participating in the sport, which has allowed them to form communities and gain a sense of purpose amidst the tenuous communities they reside in.

A Club for Personal (and Parkour) Growth

In November, Gaza’s first parkour academy, Wallrunners, was formed, which seeks to train youth to practice the discipline in safety and under the guidance of experienced mentors. It has since attracted around 70 members, which come to use the facilities regularly. The club also allows them to have access to coaches and equipment, to hone their skills and form a bond of camaraderie.

Mohamed Aliwa is one of these youths. After losing a limb in 2018, he has nevertheless continued pursuing parkour, and dreams one day to have a prosthetic limb capable of supporting him as he leaps over obstacles and across gaps. “My dream is to have a sports-appropriate prosthesis so that I can properly practice gymnastics and parkour”, Mohamed told reporters from FranceTVInfo.