Mr Record ManWe are thrilled to inform you that your record ‘Most Basketball Bounces in a Minute’ has been approved.”
We are thrilled to inform you that your record ‘Most Basketball Bounces in a Minute’ has been approved.”
Seated in a cyber café in Chabahil, on a sunny October day in 2010, Thaneshwar Guragai could not believe his eyes. The email was from Guinness World Records. For his first record, he had successfully completed 444 basketball bounces in a minute.
He was just 19.
Thaneshwar’s obsession with the Guinness World Record had begun nine years earlier, when, as a child of 10, he had marveled at Temba Tsheri Sherpa, who at the time became the youngest person to scale Mount Everest, at the age of 16. The record, which captured the headlines and the nation’s imagination, stayed with Thaneshwor, even if at the time he believed that records were set through super-human efforts, like the conquest of Everest. It was only after he moved to Kathmandu and discovered the internet that he realised there were thousands of ways in which Guinness World Records could be set. After thoroughly scanning the website, Thaneshwor figured there were more than a couple of records that were waiting to be broken. Further research would bring him in contact with Temba Tsheri—his childhood idol—and spurring him on forward.
“There’s unlimited power inside human body, so there is nothing that humans cannot accomplish,” he said, when I met him last week. Having had played the tabala from a young age, Thaneshwor figured that records that required quick and repetitive hand-eye coordinated movements offered him the best chance at his first record. So he took on the basketball.
“People around me were not familiar with the Guinness Book of World Records back in 2010. So when I suddenly started spending up to 13 hours a day practicing with a basketball, they were quickly to label me as outright crazy,” the gregarious Thaneshwor chuckles, “I literally had no one in my corner.”
Now, six short years later, he holds not one but 14 Guinness World Records. And he doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
From amazing basketball spins and passing through tennis racquets, to balancing plastic chairs on his face and body parts, Thaneshwar has set many ‘fun’ records to date. As his second record, he spun a Guinness Book of World Records, which weighs 1.5 kgs, for half an hour, shattering the previous record of a measly six minutes. On February 25, 2012, he would even go on to set three records at the same time. It wouldn’t be until his seventh record—an audacious ‘spinning a basketball on the tip of a toothbrush held in the mouth’—that shot Thaneshwar into national and international limelight. His record time of 22.41 seconds made him a household name, with long-list of invites to talk shows and documentary appearances.
Last month, he took the act even further by rotating a basketball on a tip of a toothbrush held in his mouth and one each of his two hands for a record 12 seconds—beating the previous record by five seconds. It is his latest, and 14th, world record, timed to occasion the Guinness World Record Day on November 17.
A perpetually curious learner, Thaneshwor stays in constant contact with every single Nepali who has set a Guinness record—he also helped Chandra Bahadur Dangi, formerly the record holder for the shortest man in the world, to apply for the record. Keeping what Ashrita Furhman, the holder of numerous Guinness Records, told him once—“If someone else can set a record, so can you”—in mind, Thaneshwar has evolved into a cheerleader for anyone wanting to take on previous records.
And despite going through minor and major accidents—he once broke his nose while practicing to set a record for the longest time a chair has been balanced on the nose—Thaneshwor retains a zest for “exploring his limits.” When quizzed on how many records he wishes to eventually set, he confidently says, “I am certain that I can have at least 51 to my name.”