The World’s Largest Tennis Racket

Ashrita Furman, a fifty-seven year old health food store manager of New York and a team of 20 specialists, among them an engineer and carpenter, constructed the world’s largest tennis racket within ten days. Ashrita Furman’s team completed the racket today in the Borough of Queens, NY,  where it was lifted upward with a crane. Furman dedicated the tennis racket to Sri Chinmoy (1931 – 2007), who would have been 81 on August 27th. A peace visionary and an avid tennis player Sri Chinmoy inspired Furman with his philosophy of self-transcendence. The old fashioned wood racket has a height of 50 feet (15.24 metre) and width of 16 feet (4.87 metre) and is an oversized reproduction of the model named after the famous American tennis legend Billie Jean King. Sri Chinmoy and Mikhail Gorbachev presented together the first World Athlete Award of the Women’s World Awards to Billie Jean King in New York City on 14 October 2006. Sri Chinmoy said about Billie Jean King: “My dear friend Billie Jean King is one of the most respected and revered female athletes of all time and life-long champion for social change  and equality .  … She is truly a legend.” In recognition of all Billie Jean King has done, in August 2006, the USTA National Tennis Centre, site of the US Open, was renamed in her honor. In addition the team created a tennis ball with a diameter of 4 feet (1.20 metre). Ashrita Furman is the holder of 151 current Guinness World Records, including the official record for “the most records held at the same time by an individual”. The huge sports implement ensures him a new entry into the Guinness Book of World Records.

Ashrita Furman states: “Sri Chinmoy gave us so much joy and he loved to play tennis. We wanted to honor him with the world’s largest tennis racket and share this joy with others.”nAshrita has been breaking Guinness World Records since 1979. He achieved his first entry in the Guinness Book by completing 27,000 jumping jacks. Since then he has broken 424 records on all seven continents, including bicycling the longest distance underwater in Portugal, running the fastest half marathon while balancing a milk bottle on his head in New York and racing against a yak in Mongolia to set the mile sack-racing record. As a teenager Furman got inspired by Sri Chinmoy’s philosophy of self-transcendence. Indian born Sri Chinmoy also set many records, such as writing 1,301 poems in 24 hours and composing 21,000 songs during his lifetime. Furman attributes his success at breaking records to meditation, which he has practiced daily for over 30 years. Meditation helps him keep his childlike spirit as well as his mental and physical power which is needed to continuously set world records. Ashrita started setting Guinness World Records 33 years ago and hasn’t stopped yet. “Going beyond your every day capacity is such a fulfilling feeling. The day I break a record I’m just happy the whole day,” he says. “I’m trying to show others that our human capacity is unlimited, if we can truly believe in ourselves,”

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