Generation Next: Breaking star kid Karam on inspiring British Asians and bringing youth to the Olympics

Karam Singh (B-Boy Kid Karam) won the prestigious Red Bull BC One title in 2020.

Generation Sport Next follows a group of inspiring young athletes from all walks of life and all sports as they strive to become our next superstars in sport.

Karam Singh has travelled the world, starred in commercials for Nike and Apple, been a model for Fred Perry, dated Marcus Rashford and rapper Big Sean, met Usain Bolt, starred in a TV series and performed with the British award-winning Got Talent Diversity.

But the breakdance world champion also works in a call centre and trains in his garage in Derby.

It seems a little crazy when you add it all up, says the 22-year-old, who calls his life as Boy on a Break (or B-Boy) a blessing.

Covid ruined everything so I had to take shifts at the call center.

With break dancing, a form of competitive break dancing, set to be included in the 2024 Olympics in Paris for the first time, it’s definitely something to watch.

It divides opinions because some people see it as art, while others, like me, see it as sport and competition, he tells Sport. This will certainly attract young people to the Olympics who may not see them now.

He also hopes that if he can make it to the Games and compete for an Olympic medal, he can prove to his fellow Asians that top-level sport can be a viable career option.

Singh met one of his Olympic heroes, Usain Bolt, during a competition on Got to Dance.

Singh was an enthusiastic kid who loved football and boxing, but when he saw dancers doing cool tricks with their heads in a Justin Timberlake video on MTV, his imagination was sparked.

Later that month, a seven-year-old boy and his family encountered the Trinity Warriors dance team at a party in their local park. He didn’t hesitate.

I took the plunge, he says, laughing. I asked if everything was okay, and before I knew it, I was spinning around in my head, trying to replay the video I had seen, but on stage in front of the whole park.

Singh admits he probably made a fool of himself, but the band loved his passion.

Three years later, he became the youngest competitor in the boys’ World Cup – and astonished the audience by jumping out of a backpack that a teammate was dancing with at the beginning of the performance.

I was so small and I could just jump, do somersaults, crazy windmills, head rolls and all that, says the B-Boy, who admits that the break almost became an addiction from then on.

Showboat Kid Karam’s breakthrough came when he came into contact with rapper Fredo and Premier League footballer Jesse Lingard.

In the years that followed, his fame in his sport skyrocketed, with television appearances, commercials and performances earning him the nickname Anthony Joshua the hack.

This brought with it an expectation to which he was not accustomed.

When I was younger and a little bolder, I had this burn, which is basically an end-move at the end of a fight where I pretend to catch them, throw them on the ground, kick Ronaldo, and then get them out of the gym with a flip-flop, he recalls.

As I get older, there is more focus and pressure to perform those crazy moves that will go viral, so I looked to parkour, gymnastics and other forms of dance for inspiration for new creations.

When it happens in battle, it’s an incredible feeling, but most people don’t realize how much work it takes to create something new.

When Singh was a kid, the break was not part of the Olympic program, but he still loved the games, with athletics, swimming and tennis among his favorite events.

Becoming an Olympian and competing in Paris 2024 would be a dream come true, but he is motivated by something other than the medals.

In 2019, Singh was awarded a star on the Derby Walk of Fame.

Badminton player Rajiv Osef was the only British athlete of Asian descent to be part of the British team for Rio 2016.

Singh believes that the lack of models is a huge problem that has contributed to this low representation, but stresses that there are many other reasons as well.

Sports do not always coincide with people’s religious beliefs, explains Singh, who is a Sikh.

Traditionally, kids are pushed towards education because parents don’t see a future in sports, but that’s mainly because we don’t have many role models at the top.

I hope someone like me performing at the Olympics gives him the confidence that this could be a career option, he adds. That way kids won’t be held back, they will have opportunities and hopefully we will see more British-Asian athletes.

Breaking is not currently pledging support to UK Sport, but the funder is considering investing and is expected to announce this later in 2021.

So far, making a pay video on TikTok has helped him supplement his income earned from selling TV packages to people at a call centre in Derby.

The last 12 months have been difficult. I only make a fraction of what I earned, but I am the biggest proponent of hard work, and no matter what the obstacles are, I believe you can accomplish anything if you put your mind to it, he says.

I always say aim high because the bottom is overflowing.

Learn more about our next generation of athletes

Singh is one of seven athletes who will be part of Sport Generation Next along with (l-r) Delightful Orie, Amy Hunt, Kyra Edwards, Elinor Backstedt, Tegan Vincent-Cook and Ruth Mwandumba.

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