Skipping Sikh grandpa spreads fitness message


INSPIRATION:
Rajinder Singh has raised more than £9,000 for NHS charities
INSPIRATION: Rajinder Singh has raised more than £9,000 for NHS charities

by LAUREN CODLING

AN ELDERLY British Sikh whose skipping videos went viral earlier this month has said he hopes he can inspire others to exercise.

Clips and photographs of Rajinder Singh, 73, exercising in his allotment in London have gained traction in recent weeks, with news outlets across the world picking up on the inspirational videos.

Despite his new-found fame, Singh (also known as the ‘Skipping Sikh’) has insisted he does not have hopes to be popular. He simply just wants to encourage people to exercise and help to raise funds for charities.

“I hope that I can help people, give them good health and give them knowledge to keep fit and strong,” he told Eastern Eye last week. He also hopes that he can motivate other elderly people to get fit, practise skipping or any other workouts.

Admitting he had concerns that some members of the Sikh community may feel isolated now that Sikh gurdwaras have been closed, Singh believes exercise could have a positive impact on those who may be struggling throughout the lockdown period.

“(Besides Sikhs), I understand it’s difficult for all of us – people from all faiths and from all parts of the country,” he said. “I hope I can do something for them”.

However, he would love for people to join him on Parkrun (a five-kilometre running event that take place every Saturday in locations across the country) once the lockdown is over.

Rajinder has been practising his skipping in his allotment during lockdown

“I am so happy to hear from people who are sending me messages and I hope they will cheer for me when I start doing Parkrun again,” he said.

Singh, from Hillingdon, west London, has now begun using his skipping for charitable causes – so far, he has raised more than £9,000 for NHS charities. “The NHS is doing a brilliant job in the UK,” he said. “They are under so much pressure and that is why I want to do as much as I can for them. I feel so proud to be helping the health service.”

Singh, who has taken part in approximately 25 marathons, has always been active and interested in fitness. He learned from his father, a soldier, and was taught how to skip from an early age. Now, he tries to exercise four or five times a day. In light of the lockdown measures, he works out in his allotment, garden or home.

His daughter Minreet said she has always known her father to be active. As a child, she can recall when her dad was once told to slow down by the police while out cycling.

“You would never think someone would get told off by the police for cycling too fast, but that’s how fast he could ride,” she said. “I remember hating getting on the bike when I was young as it was like being on a rollercoaster!”

Rajinder with wife Pritpal Kaur after completing a 10k for charity

Currently, Minreet is managing her father’s social media accounts. Therefore, she is able to read through the messages from people across the world. Many thank him for the inspirational videos and photos, while others have even taken up skipping.

Minreet believes her father’s story and its global impact links back to their Sikh faith. “The founder of Sikhism Guru Nanak Dev travelled the world and my dad’s story has travelled the world too,” she said. “But this isn’t just a Sikh thing – this is a worldwide inspiration story where he is asking for nothing and is only giving back.

“There should be more people out there like my dad.”

To donate, see www.justgiving.com/fundraising/raj-singh6