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Gaza parkour team .(Photo by: screenshot)
Gaza parkour team say Israeli siege limits access to tournaments
By REUTERS
01/18/2016
"We have received invitations from Spain, Libya, Qatar and Algeria to travel and represent Palestine."
Pavements, steps and beach side walkways are the training ground for Palestinian youth on Gaza's parkour team.

The 'Three run Gaza' team has ten members, aged between 16 and 20, who have have been training and practicing free running since 2008.

But despite their efforts, they say they haven't received any kind of support or assistance to further their skills.

"We are facing many obstacles that make it hard for us to practice this sport, like the Jews, the lack of capabilities, no one and no private organization taking care of us or supporting our talent. We have simple dreams of having a club where we can train, there is no place where we can train. As you see we train here at the beach, there is no special place dedicated for us," said one member of the team, Mohamad Abu Eita.

Team member Fahed Daoud said that, despite training intensively to meet international standards in parkour, his team is unable to leave Gaza due to travel restrictions imposed by Israel.

"We have received invitations from Spain, Libya, Qatar and Algeria to travel and represent Palestine but we couldn't get out of Gaza because of the closure of the crossings. There are a lot of chances but the closure is the obstacle that prevents us from traveling to represent Palestine," he said.

Parkour involves running, climbing, rolling and jumping through various terrains without the use of any equipment.

The team's coach, Mohamad Loubad, explained that they had reached a highly skilled level after years of training.

"The idea is to change the atmosphere we live in through a unique experience and to practice parkour as a sport. To us it means joy, adventure and to move from a point to another using body and movement energy. We have reached a very high level after tough exercises for the past few years and now we have professional members," he said.

For now, the parkour team can only hope that one day they'll be able to showcase their free running skills to people other than a local audience.
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