From Marawa's Majorettes (and their founder's incredible prowess with the hoops) to Chicago's very own Jenny Doan achieving the longest marathon hula hooping (a total of 100 hours!), hula hoopers around the world keep flooring us with their feats.

That's especially true for the Chennai Hoopers.

Never heard of them? The Chennai Hoopers school in Chennai, India, is a place where young students can express themselves through dance moves and hone their skills.

Recently, Guinness World Records had the chance to see the magic of this very special training centre first-hand - and it certainly lives up to its multiple record titles.

Hungry for more records and eager to showcase their passion for hula hooping, three students from Chennai Hoopers, together with the school's teacher and their parents, travelled all the way to London to attempt nine records at GWR HQ.

The international event crowns the successes already achieved by the school in 2019, 2020 and 2021, confirming Chennai Hoopers as a record-breaking haven for hooping fans.

Ever since the school was founded in 2018, offering several online courses for basic, intermediate and expert hoopers, an incredible number of pupils have broken records: from most hula hoop rotations around the neck (211) to most hula hoop rotations around the arm in one minute (220), and the school just keeps thriving. 

So, on 19 January 2023, eight-year-old Mamathi Vinoth, Balasaranitha Balaji, 13, and Janani Saravana, 12, teamed up to break as many records as possible.

Their target? To successfully attempt nine records.

The girls were all nervous prior to the record attempts, but they were also excited about the opportunity to showcase their amazing talent. They performed live in front of Guinness World Records staff in London, UK, to take on records that combined hula hooping, gymnastics and roller-skating skills. 

It was, in their words, a moment that mixed thrill, apprehension and loads of excitement.

Girls inside the hula hoops

“I’m excited and happy about the record attempts,” Mamathi, the youngest of the group, replies without losing a beat. A big smile crosses her face as she stresses her loves for gymnastics and her excitement about the upcoming record attempt. “And it will encourage me to do more records in the future.” 

“It’s very exciting, but I’m also a bit nervous about the record tomorrow,” agreed Bala. 

The officiality of a Guinness World Records attempt was a source of anxiety for the young athletes. However, they faced the challenge with a clear head and strong nerves. In the end, that was their driving force and the only thing that mattered.

Three girls with hoops blue background

At the end of the morning, the official certificate presentation led by editor-in-chief Craig Glenday brought lots of smiles and cheering, but also some disappointment.  

Although the results had been outstanding, and each of the girls had at least one coveted certificate in their hands, “only” six records out of nine had been broken.  

But the girls didn't give up: they embraced their hoops once again and pushed their skills to the very limit. 

“Someone once said to me that they couldn’t do it, that they tried and kept failing,” says Janani, “And I said to them, ‘don’t think that – keep trying, but don’t think you can’t do it'.” 

And they all put that 'never give up' state of mind into work, having another go and giving their best shot at each attempt. Their drive unquestionably offered the adults in the room a valuable lesson, too: after a hiccup, no matter how scary it might seem, the bravest thing one can do is to get up and keep trying.

Janani, Bala and Mamathi's preparation, their will to fully commit and never give up shone through, and by the end of the third attempt, all nine records had been broken! 


Nine Guinness World Records attempts

January 19, 2023 saw a total of nine records being broken under the eyes of the entire Guinness World Records HQ in London, UK.  

Janani, 12, broke three records on the day: 

  • Most elbow passes with a hula hoop in one minute (46)
  • Most single-leg raises while hula hooping around the knees in 30 seconds (15)
  • Most elbow passes with a hula hoop while wearing inline skates in 30 seconds (15)

Janani is an incredibly talented hooper, and her passion runs in the family. 

“I started because I saw my older brother. He used to go to hula hooping class, so I asked my mum because I wanted to go too. And she started teaching me.” 

Janani is Vijayalakshmi’s daughter, the main teacher at the Chennai Hoopers training centre, and has already two records under her belt: most foot passes with a hula hoop lying prone in one minute (57) broken in 2021 and most foot passes with a hula hoop in one minute (119) broken in 2022.

In her free time, Janani likes horror stories and combining gymnastic tricks with hula hooping. 

Bala in ballerina pose

Bala, 13, whose full name is Balasaranitha Balaji, started hula hooping during the pandemic.  

“During the pandemic, I had more free time and I was bored,” she said. “I thought it was just another hobby, but I like it a lot now.” 

Bala’s mother has encouraged the teen during her training. 

“During the pandemic, when everything was shut down, she started hula hooping on her own, and she started dancing. She was kneeling while hula hooping and, slowly, she would then get up. That’s when I felt inspired, I saw that she had a talent and I said, ‘let’s start looking for online classes’. That’s when she started practising."  

“Vijayalakshmi is a great teacher, and teaches beautifully.”  - Bala's mother

“It was quite boring in the home during the pandemic, seeing always the same people back to back," Bala's mother continues. "So, I thought, ‘let’s do something about that.’ That’s how the story begins.” 

At the moment, Bala holds a total of five world records. In London, she broke three: 

  • Most hula hoop rotations around the neck on inline skates in one minute (174) 
  • Most hula hoop rotations around the shoulders in 30 seconds (53)
  • Most hula hoop rotations around the knee in the arabesque position in 30 seconds (104)

That adds to her previous ones: 

  • Most elbow passes with a hula hoop in 30 seconds (a total of 25)
  • Most hula hoop rotations around the knee in heel stretch position in 30 seconds (97)

Mamathi with hoops white background

Mamathi is only eight years old and is a true force of nature.  

Incredibly at ease in front of the camera and with a great love for combining hooping and gymnastics, she's eager to involve the people around her in her passion for hula hooping.  

She is a great motivator and knows how to encourage someone new to the world of hula-hooping. 

“To encourage someone to get into hula hooping, I would say practice every chance that you get. And don’t think you can’t do it! You can do it.” - Mamathi

With her incredible skills and on-point moves, Mamathi may be young but she's already incredibly capable.  

On 19 January, she hooped her way to success and broke the following records: 

  • Most hops while spinning a hula hoop on the ankle in one minute (110)
  • Most Hula Hoop rotations around knees while in dancer pose in 30 seconds (62)
  • Most hula hoop rotations around the knees on inline skates in 30 seconds (76)

Janani bridge with hula hoop

But, behind these record-breaking students, shines the light of a passionate teacher. 

Vijayalakshmi Saravana is the true power behind the Chennai Hoopers’ success, international recognition and portfolio of records.  

An experienced and professional hula hoop trainer in Chennai, she started her very own hula hoop training centre for ladies and children in 2018. In only a few years, her school flourished and is now renowned worldwide.

“I’m incredibly proud of the children," she revealed.

Chennai Hoopers three kids

​Looking at the future 

It's never too early to dream, and these three athletes look at a possible future in hula hooping – aiming as far as the Olympic Games.  

Janani, for example, has a very specific inspiration: Olympic champion Arina Averina. 

The Russian-born Averina twins, Arina and Dina, are well-known names in gymnastics. Other than a lot of medals and accolades, Dina can also boast the record for most individual all-around titles at the World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships

Averina secured a record for her fourth consecutive all-around title at the 2021 World Championships in Kitakyushu, Japan, pulverising the competition with a margin of 3.1 points. 

During that championship, she racked up a total of 18 metals – a record-worthy result that broke the record for most Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championship gold medals won by an individual

“I used to watch Arina Averina’s videos a lot,” Janani reveals.  

“I usually watch her videos to be inspired in rhythmic gymnastics. I also try to replicate the videos that I watch.”  

“It was okay,” Janani replies with a smile when asked how did her training go when she tried to replicate Averina’s moves and exercises. 

However, these little stars dream big and never settle for ‘okay’.  

“I can get it perfectly, they were just really hard to do! But I’m still training.” - Janani

Janani, Mamathi and Bala with their teacher and their families

For now, the three girls like to perform together and continue to train every day while dreaming about an Olympic gold.  

They also have an unbeatable battle cry: Señorita by Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes. 

As soon as the first notes of the song fill the air, Janani, Mamathi and Bala will grab their hula hoops and their inline skates (and their certificates!) and put together a lovely choreography.

Have they inspired you to get hooping yet? 

Want more? Follow us across our social media channels to stay up-to-date with all things Guinness World Records! You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, and Snapchat Discover– including our in-depth Curious Casebook series.

Don’t forget, we’re also on YouTube!

Still not had enough? Follow the link here to buy our latest book, filled to the brim with stories about our amazing record breakers.