Atharva R Bhat (India) has solved three rotating puzzle cubes simultaneously using the hands and feet in a blistering 1 minute 29.97 seconds.
Eight-year-old Atharva, hailing from Bangalore, Karnataka, India completed the finger-flailing feat on 9 December 2020 using 3x3x3 rotating puzzle cubes.
Atharva beat the previous record holder’s time by over 6 seconds and, as any speedcuber will tell you, every second counts.
The sport of speedcubing requires swift thinking and even swifter hand (and foot) skills to get the cubes solved in the quickest time.
Atharva's first inspiration to attempt a Guinness World Records (GWR) title came way back at a World Cube Association (WCA) competition in Bangalore in 2017.
He met a multiple GWR record holder from his country, Krishnam Raju Gadiraju, who was amazed to see Atharva compete in almost 15 categories.
This meeting with one of his heroes helped to further ignite Atharva’s passion for speedcubing.
"My dream to be like him started there", says Atharva.
Atharva is a student of the GWR cube-solving greats, crediting Krishnam Raju Gadiraju and Jianyu Que (China) as personal inspirations on the road to his Guinness World Records title.
Jianyu Que was the previous record holder for the fastest time to solve three rotating puzzle cubes simultaneously using the hands and feet with a time of 1 minute 36.39 seconds.
In 2018, Atharva participated in a state level talent show called Best talent of Karnataka. During the preliminary rounds he solved cubes using his feet and in the finals, he performed solving the puzzles with both hands and feet. The crowd cheered his performance and he left victorious.
"Back then it was just a performance and I did not know that I will be working on this for my Guinness World Records title," Atharva said.
The removal of the cube solving with the feet event from official WCA status spurred Atharva's ambition on.
"I was doing quite well in feet and ranked 6th in the country when the event was pulled off the official status. I was upset with the decision. Then I decided to make a mark in the feet solve event."
During the pandemic, Atharva has spent much more time at home as his school turned to online classes, giving him time to plan and practise for his record attempt. His training involved meditation and visualizing the attempt, achieving the title and receiving his certificate.
"The training was never difficult because I enjoyed solving the puzzles with both hands and feet. I believe loving what you do makes training or working towards achieving your goals easier. My parents were always supportive. My sister and grandparents would cheer me at my practice and I enjoyed." - Atharva R Bhat
The support of his family helped Atharva along the way, but his incredible can-do attitude and persistent training were the key to his success.
"I would say I was as cool as cucumber on the day. They [Atharva's parents] would ask me to keep cool and focused, but I was always cool."
With his GWR title he hopes he will be able to inspire and motivate other people into entering the amazing world of cubing.
Atharva is already planning the route to breaking his own record with a sub-minute time on the horizon. He has also expressed an interest in pursuing other titles in the cube-solving field.
"I love puzzles. I love solving them."
With the continued support of his family and his passion for cubing, we're sure this is just the beginning of Atharva's record-breaking journey.