Climbing, a natural instinct and reflex, which was once confined to outdoor spaces such as boulders, boulders, mountains eventually paved the way for sport climbing where man-made routes and obstacles mimicked challenges in the open. air.
Today, sport climbing is a booming professional sport and has finally reached the sports mecca, the Olympic Games after its announcement in 2016. At the 2020 Summer Olympics, two-competitor play will be based on three disciplines: Speed, Block, and lead.
While in Speed Climbing, the two climbers walk on a fixed route using a top rope on a 15m wall, in Bouldering, the athletes climb different routes on a 4.5m wall without using a top rope. Lead Climbing is a height competition within a defined time frame in which climbers attach a lifeline and climb a fixed course over a wall over 12m. It focuses on the difficulty of a route.
Who are the players?
The Tokyo Olympics starting on July 23 will see 20 male climbers and 20 female climbers compete for the grand title of the Sport Climbing Championship to be held from August 2. In this list of athletes, while the United States, Japan and France are represented by four climbers each, three climbers represent the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and one climber has won from Kazakhstan.
Other countries participating in the title include Poland, Slovenia, Italy, Germany, Canada, Austria, Australia, Czech Republic, among others. However, India lacks representation in the early games.
India’s efforts to promote sport climbing
In India, sport climbing or competitive climbing was introduced in 1996 and since then the Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF) has organized various championships to find qualified climbers and train them for national and international events. In 2020, the annual sport climbing event celebrated its Silver Jubilee. At the international level, competitive sport is governed by the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) founded in Frankfurt in 2007.
According to Aditya Pande, a climber from Uttaranchal, who wrote about sport climbing for a platform called 4play, “IMF in conjunction with the Dept. of Sports & Youth Services, the government of Odisha built a high performance center for sport climbing at Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar. Kalinga Stadium is the first Indian facility to meet the rules and standards prescribed by the IFSC.
In January 2020, the 25th IMF National Sport Climbing Championship took place in this stadium. Some of the best Indian professional sports climbers include names such as Maibam Chingkheinganba from Manipur, Prateeksha Arun, and Bharat Pereira from Bengaluru. While Prateeksha is a national player, Bharat and Maibam represented India at the Asian Youth Championship in 2015 where sport climbing made its debut.
However, according to Inspire the crewIndia’s struggle in the nascent field of sport climbing can be attributed to a lack of attention, training and infrastructure.
“All Indian climbers put together are always lagging behind other countries. The reasons vary from state to state; lack of exposure, training, infrastructure are some of the common reasons. Sports organizations do not foresee any return on investment in this sport No funds, no climbing walls, no stimulating training, which leads to a lack of popularity and interest in learning, ”said Clea Amelia, a South Zone climber at Inspire Crew in the September 2020 article.
Ski mountaineering added to the 2026 Winter Olympics
After Sport Climbing was inducted, ski mountaineering was also approved for inclusion in the 2026 Winter Olympics to be held in Italy. Proposed by the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at its June meeting, the 138th IOC Session unanimously approved the proposal on July 20.
According to Reuters, the sport, which combines ascents and descents of mountain trails on or wearing skis, will have five events at the Olympics. With a total number of 48 athletes (24 women and 24 men) at the Games, the events will be sprints, individuals and a mixed relay. The IOC cited the popularity of the sport in Italy and its rapid expansion in the United States and Canada, among other countries.