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  • Writer's pictureSukrit Gupta


25th Indian National Climbing Championship Odisha 2020 [/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”” align=”center”][vc_column_text]

2020 was welcomed by India in a variety of ways. Citizens around the nation voiced dissent against the government. Bollywood released a string of films that focus on new age romance. Cricket fans greeted the new year with India-Sri Lanka, T-20 series. Adventure Sports community was also included in the festivities with 2020 beginning with Ice-Climbing Fests and Indian Sport Climbing Championships.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”6157″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]2020 is the year of the Olympics. The debut of ‘Sport-Climbing’ makes it even more anticipatory for some. In India, climbing’s inclusion has translated to the otherwise fringe sport getting official recognition. The Government and Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF) have started collaborating on various projects, which seek to increase awareness about the sport. Last year, IMF in collaboration with the Dept. of Sports & Youth Services, Government of Odisha built a High-Performance Center for Sport Climbing at Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar. Internationally, climbing follows a set of standardized rules prescribed by the International Federation of Sports Climbing (IFSC). Kalinga Stadium, is India’s premier facility which adheres to rules and standards prescribed by the IFSC. It was decided that the annual sport climbing championship would be held in the facility to mark the silver jubilee of competition climbing in India.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”6156″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]Due to the sheer geographical size of the country, the National Sport Climbing Committee plans, coordinates and executes sport climbing activities and events through various zonal committees. Below is an attached list of various zones and associated regions.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”6174″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]Each zone organizes competitions which draws climbers from their respective states. It then selects 26 athletes to take part in the national championships. Since 2018, the rules have slightly changed and now we host two annual climbing championship events for three climbing disciplines.

International Competition Climbing includes the following Disciplines:

  1. Lead: Climbs (‘Routes’) are climbed by the competitors clipping fixed bolts as they climb on “Lead”. Progression along the line of the route determines a competitor’s ranking. [/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”6158″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]

  2. Bouldering: Boulders are attempted without ropes but with landing mats for protection. Climbers climb fixed routes on a wall of 5 meters or less and are ranked by the number of routes they complete in the designated time frame. It focuses on the difficulty of the route. [/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”6160″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]

  3. Speed: Climbs are attempted on ‘Top-Rope’. Climbers climb a fixed route on a 15-meter wall. The time to complete the route determines a competitor’s ranking. It is a sprint race in which even a fraction of second makes huge difference. [/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”6161″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]The climbing championship held at Kalinga Stadium was dominated by the east zone with Eight Gold and a total of thirty-four points. The west zone was placed second and the south zone earned the third spot. Underdogs from Jharkhand excelled the most with a total of thirteen points, followed by climbers from West Bengal and home state Odisha following closely with six points. East Zone and the West Zone climbers are the ones to look out for they have been competing closely since the last nationals.

RESULTS – 25th IMF National Sport Climbing Championship[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”6163″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]Congratulations to all podium finishers and everyone else who participated. As is evident in the results, the growth of awareness, infrastructure, coaching and exposure has contributed to the progression of competition climbing in India. National Speed Record has been broken multiple times in the last two years; four medals were won by members of the female team in the recently organized Asian Youth Championships.

Route setting, which is the ultimate show runner in a climbing competition, is often under appreciated by audiences. Setters are required to create perfectly balanced problems, routes that challenge and at the same time entertain audiences. It’s difficult to create puzzles that only three or four climbers stand a chance of completing, with one of the climbers making it to the top in least attempts. Couple this with different skill sets of climbers, time-constraints and entertainment value. The chances of setting ‘the perfect problem’ are almost as difficult as finding the proverbial needle in a haystack. In conjunction with this, it’s also boring for the audience and depressing for climbers when none of the problems are completed.

In both the 25th and 23rd nationals none of men finalists could complete the final routes. Difficulty is subjective but there has to be a yardstick which separates it from something that is ‘impossible’. Inclusion in Olympics has prompted organizers, judges and athletes to conform to IFSC standards. It’s an important step since it helps the national team compete in international events but evidently it also creates confusion amongst a growing community. Athletes as well as audiences want to see clear decisive winners; inclusion and exposure seem to be the only option.

Highlights of the competition :

  1. The sibling duo, Anisha Verma & Aman Verma made a clean sweep with 3 Golds in (Junior category)

  2. Anisha Verma made a new national record of 10.41 seconds in speed climbing. (Junior)

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