Mallakhamb was first created in the 12th century in India and was used as a means of training for the wrestlers of the day. The word ‘Malla’ actually means wrestler, while unsurprisingly ‘khamb’ translates to our word, pole. For many years Indian pole dancing was lost to the world, but it has become more and more popular in recent years with Indian coaches specializing in training athletes in this test of intense strength.
As can be seen in the video, combatants must climb a wooden pole. This pole is generally wider at the base, narrowing slightly at the top to allow a range of different poses to be performed. Although Mallakhamb is not technically an official sport it has been embraced by the athletic community, particularly those with any visual impairments. This is because Indian pole dancing is more closely linked to balance and strength rather than sight.