On his first day of rock climbing practice, Chingkheinganba Maibam powered up the wall a 53-foot high grey-painted wall at the Indian Mountaineering Institute on. He was nonplussed, despite the fact that it was slippery, thanks to rain the night before, reported ESPN.
That was the young lad before the Asian Games
Now, all of 15 years, 9 month and 22 days old at the start of the Asian Games, making him the youngest member of the 524-strong Indian contingent, he is set to represent India in the rock climbing event.
There are 3 climbing modes. Speed climbing is a sprint, a lead climbing event is when participants follow a long pre-set route along a rock face, while bouldering is when they have to solve technical problems on a short wall.
Each event uses different muscle groups. While lead and boulder climbers are light and wiry like Marathon runners, speed climbers are built like sprinters.
Maibam started rock climbing aged just 7 years, and was given a dynamic belay, a technique in which the safety rope attached given a little slack. Maibam slipped and fell a long way. He developed a fear of heights soon after.
However, eventually, he got over the height phobia, and according to ESPN, took him 2 years of climbing to combat his fears.
The 15 year old is a Deadpool fan, quite ironic because he has the abilities of Spiderman, another Marvel character. And much like Spiderman’s Peter Parker, the boy is a high school student, precariously balancing his 2 lives-one on the climbing wall, and one as a regular teenager.
It is all in the genes for this 15-year old phenomenon. His uncle, Chitrasen Singh, was a high-level sport climber and rope-setter in the early 2000s.
Giving the proficient Maibam company, are 16 year old Shreya Nankar, and 18 year old Bharat Pereira, the latter considered the senior statesman of the team.
Shreya went for her first trek aged just 4 with her father. She climbed half the way, and was carried the other half. On the other hand, beginning his climbing career aged just 5, Pereira started at Bengaluru’s Sri Kanteerava Stadium. He was a spectator for his sisters, but soon hit the wall himself.
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The sport is getting some much-needed visibility with the Asian Games, and the dynamic young trio, should be getting warmed up just in time for the 2020 Olympics, where rock-climbing will become a medal event.
(Edited by Vinayak Hegde)