BENGALURU: The 22nd National Sport Climbing Championship is beginning on Saturday at the Kanteerava Stadium here. The four-day meet ends on Tuesdaay. Top 160 climbers in the country are expected to participate, up from the 130 climbers in the previous edition.
The competition is being organized jointly by the Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF) and the General Thimayya National Academy of Adventure (GETHNAA), Bengaluru.
This prestigious event is returning to Bengaluru after a gap of three years. The 19th edition in 2013 had also been held at Kanteerava complex. Prior to 2013, it had also been hosted by the city in 2003.
“The officers of the Department under the Chairmanship of the Minister Sri Pramod Madvaraj have put in a lot of effort to give the participants a great competition. It is a boon in disguise to have an excellent vice Chairman, Additional Chief Secretary Dr. Rajneesh Goel, IAS and a dynamic young Director General of Gethnaa Sri. Anupam Agrawal, IPS at the helm of affairs,” said Mr Keerthi Pais, Co-Chairman, National Sport Climbing Committee, Indian Mountaineering Foundation and Advisor, Adventure Sports Department of Youth Empowerment and Sports, Government of Karnataka.
This will be the 22nd edition of the annual competition which first began in 1994. It is now the largest climbing competition in the country wherein the best climbers compete for a position in the Indian National Climbing Team.
The previous, 21st edition, was held at the Indian Mountaineering Foundation, New Delhi, between November 27 and 30 last year. About 130 climbers participated across 15 different categories/age groups in both genders. Among the top four finishers, South Zone (19) led the way followed by North (10), West (6), North-East (3), Services (4), East (1).
There will be six competing zones, North, West, South, East, North East and the Services Zone. Each zone has selected their top three athletes for each category: bouldering, lead climbing, and speed climbing, who will compete for the National title here.
The participants are also divided into three categories (for male and female): Senior (men and women, 17 years and above), junior girls and boys (14 to 16 years), and sub-junior girls and boys (10 to 13 years).
There are three sport climbing events: lead, bouldering, and speed climbing.
Lead climbing involves a long route set on a vertical wall, wherein the athlete has one attempt to ascend as high as possible, attaching the rope to the safety equipment whilst climbing. He or she is judged by how far and height gained during the climb in the given time limit (usually 6 minutes).
Bouldering consists of multiple short, technical climbs without the use of ropes or harnesses. Competitors were all given 4 boulder problems (or routes), with 4 minutes to attempt each. The ranking is decided by the total number of routes topped, attempts on each problem, and “bonus holds” tapped by each participant.
Speed climbing is done with a pre-attached top-rope, where speed of ascent is the ultimate goal. The athletes are ranked according to who tops the route with the fastest time.
There is also a system of ‘isolation’ before every event, wherein the participating athletes are kept in an ‘isolation room’ so that they do not see the route being set before the event starts.
Climbers to watch out for
Watch out for Aziz Shaikh, from the west zone, who is a five-time National lead champ and current defending champion. Last year, Chea Amelia Marak from the South Zone held the women’s bouldering as well as speed titles, Nehaa Prakash the women’s lead title, and was the runner-up for women’s bouldering, as well as speed. Theja Saram and Bharath Pereira hold the junior girls’ and boys’ lead titles respectively in bouldering during Netra Bhat and Bharath Pereira won gold. Among the sub junior category Arjun M. from Chitradurga and Jayathi Gadamshetty won gold. Praveen C.M bagged silver at bouldering in the men’s category. There will be a big void in his absence of 15 times National champion Praveen C.M this year.
The winners in each category will receive trophies, cash prizes as well a chance to represent the Indian National climbing team for international qualification.