• The prestigious 22nd National Sport Climbing Championship 2016 is being held in Bengaluru between 17th to 20th December.
  • Sport climbing comprises three events: lead climbing, bouldering and speed climbing.
  • The lead and speed events are being held at the outdoor climbing station at Kanteerava Stadium (19th & 20thDec), while the bouldering event was held at the Equilibrium indoor climbing gym in Indiranagar (18th Dec).
  • Nation’s top 160 climbers are participating across multiple age categories and 3 different sport climbing disciplines, in both men and women.
  • The competition is jointly being organized by the Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF) and the General Thimayya National Academy of Adventure (GETHNAA), Bengaluru.
  • The event sponsors are Petzl, Stepin Adventure, Neo Bags and Merquri Medica. National broadcaster Doordarshan is on board to telecast the entire event.

Talim Ansari of East Zone

Bengaluru, 19th December 2016: The 22nd National Sport Climbing Championship is underway in the city. The day long lead climbing event in all six categories, concluded a short while ago at the outdoor climbing wall at the Kanteerava stadium complex.

Lead Climbing Winners

SUB JUNIOR – GIRLS
Sl. BIB Name Zone Rank Remark
1 006 PURVI South 1
2 004 JAYATI GADAMSETTY South 2
3 024 LAKSHMI MATHANGI South 3
SUB JUNIOR – BOYS
Sl. BIB Name Zone Rank Remark
1 082 KARAN SINGH North 1
2 099 ARUNDEEP CHARAK North 2
3 028 RUTOO PENDSE West 3
JUNIOR – GIRLS
Sl. BIB Name Zone Rank Remark
1 030 SHREYA NANKAR West 1
2 084 SHIVANI CHARAK North 2
3 103 SHIVPREET PANNU North 3
JUNIOR – BOYS
Sl. BIB Name Zone Rank Remark
1 018 BHARATH PEREIRA South 1
2 111 SURAJ SINGH East 2
3 041 HRITIK MARNE West 3
WOMEN
Sl. BIB Name Zone Rank Remark
1 015 PRATEEKSHA South 1
2 003 NEHA South 2
3 009 CHEA South 3
MEN
Sl. BIB Name Zone Rank Remark
1 055 AJIJ SHAIKH West 1
2 039 IRFAN SHAIKH West 2
3 067 KANGUJAM SURJIT North East 3

Hritik Marne of West Zone navigates the overhang

Earlier in the day: Lead Qualification Rounds

Men’s climbers powered through an arduous 7c route with top climbers struggling to clear the overhang, also known as the roof, of the artificial wall. Having participated in 14 consecutive National Championships, Shivalinga of South Zone lost his first rank in the qualification round to Ajij Shaikh (West Zone) with a difference of 2.5 holds in height. Palani S from Services tied with Bharath VN from South Zone followed by the fifth rank shared by Somnath Shinde from Services and Irfan Shaikh from the West Zone.

Jayati Gadamsetty of South Zone tops at home

The 6b route set for the Women was “topped” by Siddhi Manerikar, Kumari Kushboo, Prateeksha Arun and Nehaa Prakash. The crux (i.e. the hardest part of the route) of the route separated these four climbers from the rest.

Neha Prakash of South Zone nearing the crux

The Sub Junior Girls and Boys climbed side by side on 6b and 6c difficulty routes respectively. The North, East and West Zones triumphed amongst the boys with four toppers. Jayati Gadamsetty, Purvi and Lakshmi Muthangi, all from the South Zone, topped the girls route with remarkable ease.

Mansi Mugal of North East Zone during the lead qualifications

More confident during his second climb, allowed due to a “hold turn”, Bharath Pereira of South Zone rightfully secured the first rank by leaving a considerable distance between him and Suraj Singh (East Zone), the second rank holder. The gruelling 7b route, set by Pranesh Macchaiah, had no conquerors. Nevertheless, the stiff competition enthralled the spectators till the end.

After a prolonged 5 hour isolation period, the Junior Girls set off on the 6c route, previously set for the Sub Junior Boys category. Tied for first rank at a height of 26 holds, Shreya Nankar and Shivani Charak had a minimal difference in time that could come into play while judging in the final round. East Zone saw no finalists but the North Zone maintained its dominance in this category.
About the 22nd National Sport Climbing Championships 2016
The competition is jointly being organized by the Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF) and the General Thimayya National Academy of Adventure (GETHNAA), Bengaluru. The event sponsors are Petzl, Stepin Adventure, Neo Bags and Merquri Medica. National broadcaster Doordarshan is on board to telecast the entire event.

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.

Participating Zones
The nation’s top 160 climbers are participating, up from the 130 climbers in the previous edition.
There are six competing zones, the North Zone, West Zone, South Zone, East Zone, North East Zone, 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.

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).

Competition structure

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.

History
This is 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 27-30th November 2015. 130 climbers participated across 15 different categories/age groups and both genders. Among the top four finishers across the 6 participating zones, South Zone (18) led the way followed by North (9), West (7), North-East (3), Services (3) and East (2).

Climbers to watch out for
Watch out for Ajij 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 category. There will be a big void in the absence of 15 time 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 that are considered for international qualifications.

Tournament website: http://www.imfsouthzone.com/thenationals

About General Thimayya National Academy of Adventure (‘GETHNAA’)
Formed by the Government of Karnataka in 1989, GETHNAA is an organization that aims to popularize outdoor adventure sports in Karnataka, and provides their services at various centers across the state. It is chaired by the Minister for Youth Empowerment and Sports.

The Academy has a large range of activities in aero, aqua and terrestrial sports, with experienced trainers in each. The sports include parasailing, paragliding, canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing, rafting, rock climbing, trekking, mountaineering, and mountain biking.

More information at www.gethnaa.com

About Indian Mountaineering Foundation (‘IMF’)
The IMF is a national body that governs adventure sports in India, established in 1957. It organizes, supports, and provides a base for mountaineering, skiing, rock climbing and trekking both at competition levels, as well as expeditions. It is also involved in organizing international conferences, training programs, and various environmental protection projects in the Himalayas. It is currently being presided by Col. H S Chauhan.

The IMF works closely with the Ministries of Sports, Home, Defense, Tourism and Environment of the Government of India. It provides accreditation and permits to all foreign climbers seeking an expedition in the Himalayas.

More information at www.indianmountaineeringfoundation.com

About Sport Climbing: General History, Basic Rules & Terminology

Brief History
Rock climbing originated as a form of training for when mountaineers needed to cross large rock surfaces while summiting alpine mountains, dating back to around 1911 in Europe. It soon developed into a fully fledged sport in itself, with athletes specializing in rock climbing, and then branching out into further categories of climbing such as bouldering, speed, and lead. French climbers developed a system of bolting routes so that safety equipment could be attached and climbers could then focus on technique and climb harder routes with lower risk. This also gave rise to shorter, harder routes which tested their strength and abilities, which developed into the sport of bouldering. Thus the birth of sport climbing on artificially recreated walls that could be modified to increase difficulty and technicality, which was popularized mostly in North American states and France between the 1930s and 1950s, and then spread to several other countries across the world. Sport climbing differs from rock climbing in the sense that to emphasizes strength, endurance, and gymnastic ability, as opposed to the adventure, risk, and self-sufficiency that traditional rock climbing is known for.

Sport climbing in India kicked off in the 1980s, when foreign climbers visited and gave Indian mountaineers the opportunity to climb overseas and brought climbing specific equipment with them. The sport soon took off and training walls were built and more athletes pursued the sport in India. We now have a large community of talented climbers who often represent the country at international competitions. Asian competitions were held at Uttara Kashi in 2004 and Imphal in 2011. This year the IFSC Sport Climbing World Cup was held in Mumbai. The inclusion of sport climbing into 2020 Tokyo Olympics has elevated the sport to a whole to new level.

Basic rules

  • Climbers must obey the isolation system, and will receive a red card if they step out of it and observe the route before instructed.
  • They will be provided with Observation Time before the event, during which they can see the competition route and plan their ascent.
  • Climbers cannot use any of the holds or wall space outside what has been assigned for that particular event or route. They will be disqualified if they do.
  • During bouldering and lead, one climber climbs the route at a time. For speed, two climbers compete simultaneously and qualifications are done on time trial basis.
  • During lead, the rope must be passed through all clips that are passed. A red card may ensue if a clip has been skipped. Number of clips depend on the length of the route, angle of the wall, and difficulty.
  • There are usually two rounds: the qualifying round, and the final round. Finalists are selected on timing or point’s basis.

Terminology

Send / Ascend – Climb and reach the top of a route

Belayer – Person who manages the rope of the climber and ensures safety

Crux – Toughest portion of that particular route or climb

Bonus hold – In bouldering, a hold above the crux of the problem and before the top hold that gives the climber extra points even if he or she does not manage to get to the top hold

Top hold – Last hold of the route which, if tapped (in the case of speed climbing) and held for 3 seconds (bouldering and lead) counts as a finished ascent

Carabiners / Clips – Metal rings with spring-loaded gates, used as connectors. Usually oval or roughly D shaped. They are attached at different intervals during a lead climb. The rope attached to the climber has to be passed through these clips as he climbs past them

Isolation zone – An enclosed area where climbers have to remain before their event, which prevents them from seeing the route beforehand

Holds – Plastic structures of different sizes and shapes attached on the wall to hold or place feet. Holds are arranged to form a route.

Volume – A large, hollow bolted-on bouldering hold.

Smera Jayadeva
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