21st National Sport Climbing Championship- four days of action

The National Sport Climbing Championship is the culmination of the country’s largest competition that seeks out the best climbers from every corner of the country.

Indian Mountaineering Foundation is country’s apex body under the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports with an objective to organize, support and provide a base for expeditions for mountaineering, rock climbing, trekking at high altitudes and to promote, encourage, support and execute schemes for related adventure activities and environmental protection work in the Himalaya.

This tournament comprised of finalists from 6 zones after conducting regional level competitions. The finalists at the National Championships represented zones West, North, North East, East, South and the Services. The competitors, who range from 11 years and up, both men and women, competed for top places in 3 categories, which are lead, bouldering, and speed. These finalists fought for personal, regional and national pride, and also to be competing for an opportunity to represent the Indian National Climbing Team.

The 21st National Sport Climbing Championships held in Delhi in the IMF campus, after 3 years. It finally returned to the region that has produced some of the greatest sport climbing athletes this country has known, such as Heera Lal, Manish Gupta, Mohit Oberoi, Renu Sharma , Rohit Chauhan , Nandkishore  who have pioneered sport climbing in this region for the last two decades. Another athlete we must mention is Kharak Singh from Indo-Tibetan Border Police, he has been a consistent in the nationals over the last 5 years. The army has been a force to reckon with, the athletes from the Indian army have been performing consistently for the last 5 years which has helped foster the growth of this sport.

This year’s Nationals was different from all previous championships for one reason; it was the first competition which include a new category for Para climbers (a category for athletes who are visually challenged). The decision to include this category for the first time is inspired by the recent success of Manikandan Kumar in the IFSC Paraclimbing World Championships, held in Spain in 2014. Manikandan from a young age was a victim of polio in his right leg, and despite pressure from his parents to get a job to add to the household income, he persevered and trained hard for many years before winning Gold.

Paracclimbers lead Climbing (All the participants were visually challenged)
Paracclimbers lead Climbing (All the participants were visually challenged) Birbal 2nd rank (L), Afzal 1st rank (C) and Santosh 3rd rank (R)

The sport as such holds immense potential for those who seek it. Few other sports could give such an adrenaline rush and at the same time be as accessible as sport climbing. In an age where everybody has lesser time to do what they love, it makes for an ideal hobby.

Sport climbing is such that it requires the development of an athlete in many ways, both physically and mentally. Physically, needless to say, the athlete must have tremendous strength, balance, coordination and more. Mentally, this sport differs from other sports as it falls into the category of adventure sports. This means that on some level, athletes must fight fear to be successful. When the purpose of the sport is to scale a wall that can be more than 60 feet high, the athlete cannot let fear interfere with their focus and ability to make the right decision even under physically strenuous circumstances. The sport is a great test of mind, body, and spirit for anyone who practices it and is, therefore, a great way to develop a child or even an adult. The development is so quick, that it has now become one of the most effective and popular training method across all armed forces and services in India. Which is why we have dedicated an entire zone to the services where their climbers can compete and the best are sent for the nationals.

The great thing about this climbing as a sport is that it is very accessible to people. Sport Climbing started in India with the setting up of a climbing wall at IMF, Delhi with a grant from that doyen of adventure, JRD Tata. Ever since, the sport has made steady progress with over 150 walls built across the country and the sport percolating to places across the country. The sport is significant in a country such as India, which tends to be more orthodox than other countries because it provides both men and women the same platform to train, get better and compete. Women compete in all 3 categories of lead, speed and bouldering and competitors from all around the country come to compete in all age categories. This is a great step towards the empowerment of women and towards changing the mindset that Indian culture has of the role women play in society.

Final Results of all categories

Men’s Lead Final

Aziz Shaik 1st Rank West
Somnath Shinde 2nd Rank Services
Adarsh Singh 3rd Rank North

Junior Boys Lead Final

Bharath Pereira 1st Rank South
Maibam ChingKheingan 2nd Rank North-East
Hritik Marne 3rd Rank West

Women Bouldering Final

Chea Amelia Marak 1st Rank South
Nehaa Prakash 2nd Rank South
Prerna Dangi 3rd Rank North

Junior Girls Bouldering Final

Netra Char Bhat 1st Rank South
Paushi Sridhar 2nd Rank South
Shivani Charak 3rd Rank North

Women Lead Final

Nehaa Prakash 1st Rank South
Siddhi Manerikar 2nd Rank West
Chea Amelia Marak 3rd Rank South

Junior Girls Lead Final

Thaja Seram 1st Rank North-East
Anya Sita Chinniah 2nd Rank South
Shivpreet Pannu 3rd Rank North

Women Speed Final

Chea Amelia Marak 1st Rank South-Zone
Nehaa Prakash 2nd Rank South-Zone
Smriti Singh 3rd Rank South-Zone

Junior Boys Speed Final

Aman Dogra 1st Rank North Zone
Maibam Chingkheingam 2nd Rank North East
Bharath Pereira 3rd Rank South Zone

Junior Girls Speed Final

Shivani Charak 1st Rank North Zone
Naitra Char Bhat 2nd Rank South Zone
ShivPreet Pannu 3rd Rank North Zone

Sub Junior Girls Lead Final

Jayati Gaddaamsetty 1st Rank South Zone
Shreya Sanjay Nanka 2nd Rank West Zone
Sania Prashant Nargunde 3rd Rank West Zone

Sub Junior Boys Lead Final

Arjun M 1st Rank South Zone
Talim Ansari 2nd Rank East Zone
Sahil Ashpak Khan 3rd Rank West Zone
Junior Boys Speed Final
Aman Dogra 1st Rank North Zone
Maibam Chingkheingam 2nd Rank North-East Zone
Bharath Pereira 3rd Rank South Zone

Women Speed Final

Chea Amelia Marak 1st Rank South Zone
Nehaa Prakash 2nd Rank South Zone
Smriti Singh 3rd Rank South Zone

Men Speed Final

Abhishek Mehta 1st Rank North Zone
Mandeep 2nd Rank Services
Jaskaran Singh 3rd Rank Services
Arunbaby 4th Rank Services

Paraclimbers Lead Climbing

Afzal 1st Rank JPM Senior Sec Special School for Blind, New Delhi
Birbal 2nd Rank JPM Senior Sec Special School for Blind, New Delhi
Santosh 3rd Rank AICB Capt, Chandarlal Special School for Blind Village, Behrampur

STARTLING Moment of the Event

Mandeep from services broke the National record in Men Speed Climbing
Mandeep from services broke the National record in Men Speed Climbing

Abhishek Mehta From North Zone a Participant from Men Speed Climbing hold the First Rank but Mandeep From Services Amazingly Climbed Broke the National Record in Men Speed Climbing. Old Record was set by Praveen C.M of Climbing the wall in just 9.05 sec But Mandeep set a new record of Climbing the wall in Just 8.19 sec and Made the Competition memorable for spectators.

Again South Zone dominated and sustained its position with the most number of medals in the basket. Nehaa Prakash and Chea Amelia Marak were the names to remember in the women categories.

Sport Climbing is emerging as a popular sport among youngsters and this year holds a special place in the history of sport climbing as the IMF is sending a team of 6 young athletes to participate in the Asian youth Championship to be held in Malaysia from 3rd to 6th Dec 2015.

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