News Today | Friday, 24 June 2016 | Amreetha Gowrishankar |
Chennai: While Rubik’s Cube is usually used to stimulate the mind, Illayaram Sekar, a civil engineering student from Magna College of Engineering on the city’s outskirts, gained a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for ‘Most Rubik’s Cubes solved on a bicycle’ title. He solved 702 cubes in six hours, all done while riding a bicycle. Talking to ‘News Today’ the enthusiastic youngster opens up about his feat and how he wants to make India proud. Here are excerpts from the interview:
Q: Why did you select this particular feat?
A: While I was in college, I started solving the Rubik’s cube for fun. My interest increased when I started watching YouTube videos of world and national championships. I participated for the first time in World Cube Association’s event, REC Cube Challenge, at Rajalakshmi Engineering College in October 2015 in which my average was 23.11 seconds. The best was 18 seconds. I didn’t go beyond the first round. I also participated in the IIT-M Shaastra Cube Open event in January 2016. I understood that I needed to participate outside Chennai to increase my ranking. From a young age, I had an interest in cycling and I’m quite good at it, so I combined both. I wanted to create a record that others can’t even imagine breaking.
Q: What is your current record?
A: I’m not the best Rubik’s cube solver in India. The previous record-holder from Vellore district, Edwin Winfred Michael Raj, solved 111 cubes in 123 minutes in the cycling category. I felt that I could beat that record easily as my average was 20 seconds at that time, while his was 40 seconds. I broke his record in the 57th minute. Now, I have set a record of 702 cubes in 6 hours, 19 minutes, 40 seconds while riding a bicycle.
Q: What were your special preparations for this challenge?
A: I wanted to give my all as I felt that it’s now or never. Stamina is mandatory to cycle for a long duration. I practised for hours on a ground near my home in Thiruvottiyur every morning at 4 am and again around 1 pm. I also cycled to my college in Red Hills. I trained and timed myself. I cycled for long durations to increase my stamina, which was useful during the event.
Q: Who organised the event and who are your sponsors?
A: The event was organised by my college, Magna College of Engineering, and the Rs 15,000 they allocated was useful. I got two sponsors for the Guinness event: Cubelelo (puzzle online store) who provided 20 cubes. TI Cycles India provided the cycle. Earlier, I couldn’t participate in some national events as I didn’t have sponsors but after becoming a Guinness record-holder now, I can approach sponsors confi dently.
Q: There must be someone who inspires you so much?
A: My inspiration is Australian Rubik’s Cube speedsolver Feliks Zemdegs. I pushed myself more and increased my target so that I could be the record-holder in India. That is the kind of inspiration I got from him.
Q: Why was the event delayed?
A: Though this event was planned much ahead, there were two reasons for the delay: first I couldn’t get sponsors; and I was not able to sync my preparations with the dates provided by the witnesses.
Q: How was it on the day of the event?
A: Even on 18 June, the day it was finally scheduled for, the event was delayed till noon. According to the rules, I cannot put my foot down from the cycle at any point of time, not even while exchanging cubes. I didn’t get tired even after 6 hours and I know I can do more.
Q: What is special about the way you solve the cube?
A: Starting with the basic method just like everyone else, I improvised and am currently using the ‘Jessica Fridrich’ method, recognised all over the world. But, I feel that I should have my own methods instead of aping others.
Q: What next for Illayaram?
A: My ambition is to be an international speed cuber. I’m on the prowl for more Guinness records. If anyone breaks my record, I’ll try again to set a new record with the help of my family and friends who stood at the checkpoints for the six hours that it took me to complete the event. – Courtesy