#TeamRed athlete Sibusiso ‘Sibu’ Sodo’s journey to becoming one of the best jump rope athletes in the world

Skipping Past Struggles with a Rope to Riches
“Competitive jump rope helped me escape the ghetto.” – Sibusiso Sodo

Sibu’s inspiring journey is a tale of triumph over adversity. From financial struggles in Khayelitsha to becoming South Africa’s top jump rope athlete, Sibu’s resilience and dedication led to international success. Overcoming setbacks, he secured a third-place finish at the World Championships. As a Biogen #TeamRed ambassador, Sibu’s story reflects the transformative power of sports, motivating others to overcome challenges and redefine their limits.

Sibu’s life took a turn when his family faced financial struggles. “My mom and I moved to Cape Town in 1998 when alcoholism got the better of my dad,” he shared. After losing everything, they settled in Khayelitsha.

In high school, influenced by peers, Sibu faced challenges. “I tried smoking to fit in; I failed grade nine, which was a wake-up call.” Realising he was smarter, Sibu turned things around.

“Mom worked hard. I competed, passed, and found the right crowd.”

A pivotal moment came when he saw a friend, Sibusiso Mabele, on TV. “Sibusiso, a jump rope champ, secured sponsorships that enabled him to travel the world. I thought I could too.” This marked a crucial turning point in Sibu’s journey toward becoming a world-class athlete.

Sibu found solace in rope jumping, despite early teasing. “Competitive jump rope helped me escape the ghetto,” he revealed. Though lazy initially, he teamed up with Sibusiso Mabele, who coached him to become South Africa’s top jump rope athlete by 2012.

Financial hurdles almost halted his World Championships dream, though, but with the expert guidance of Gill Taylor at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa (SSISA), the help of an influential sportsperson, and financial support from the Catholic Welfare Development program, he finally got there.

Despite training hard, Sibu placed 22nd at the World Championships. The experience helped him realise that the global standard was high. “I gave everything, but it wasn’t enough.”

This experience highlighted the proficiency needed to compete globally and fuelled Sibu’s determination for future success.

“I made friends in the US jump rope community through Facebook and got invited to compete there,” Sibu shared. After a competition, his host family extended a year-long stay, providing the chance to train with top coaches and gain valuable experience.

“Training hard, I became the best athlete I could.” Returning home, Sibu won more local competitions and another National Championship. Equipped with newfound skills, he went back to the World Championships.

“I was inspired, knew my potential, and all my training paid off—I placed third. My sponsors were over the moon, and I couldn’t believe it.” 

  1. Morning (fasted cardio):
    • Endurance-based jump rope focusing on speed steps, double- and triple-unders.
    • Duration: 20-30 minutes in an EMOM structure.
  2. Midday/mid-afternoon:
    • Strength training.
  3. Evening:
    • Skills-based CrossFit session to master technical exercises.

Training Split:

  • Five-day split (four days on, one day off).
  • Incorporates bodybuilding and other training forms based on goals.
  • Active on rest days, preferring hiking in the mountains around Cape Town.

Jump Rope Competition Preparation:

  • Sibu splits his training between endurance and freestyle jump rope workouts.
  • Freestyle includes technical moves like handstands, quads, push-ups, triple rotations into handstand, and various gymnastic elements.
  • Regular rehearsal of competition routine.

Skill Enhancement:

  • Gymnastics and breakdancing sessions during the week.


  • Prioritises mobility with a 10-minute warm-up before every session.
  • Focuses on range of motion and various band dislocates to mobilise joints.

Breakfast: Oatmeal with fruit, peanut butter and a scoop of Biogen Iso-Whey Protein
Mid-morning snack: Eggs, toast and juice
Post-workout snack: Protein shake with glutamine
Post-workout meal: Natural complex carbs and protein (normally chicken)
Mid-afternoon snack: Fruits like apples, bananas and plums
Dinner: Natural complex carbs and protein

Sibu, having achieved his ambitions, returned to South Africa and resumed training at SSISA to further develop as an athlete. Notably, he secured second at the jump rope event during the Arnold Classic.

“I completed my studies, achieved a World Jumprope Level 1 coaching certification, and began working as a personal trainer.” Additionally, he contributed to an NGO, sharing his experiences and coaching talented kids.

Honoured to work with exceptionally gifted youngsters, some even excelling at an Open Championship in China, Sibu’s NGO work faced a setback when the organisation faced funding issues. Subsequently, he returned to personal training, earning a CrossFit Level 1 certification.

Explaining his transition, Sibu said, “I started CrossFit to enhance functional strength, fitness, and agility for skipping. After becoming a certified coach, I worked at Cape CrossFit Century City, now CrossFit Juggernaut, and later moved to Black River CrossFit, now operating as CrossFit Impi BRCF.”

Notably, Sibu participated in the 2022 CrossFit Open and eagerly anticipates the 2024 season.