Participants of sports climbing, Pemba Sherpa (left) and Pranil Man Shrestha (right) pose with coaches Sun Bahadur Gurung (second left) and Etienne Grillot during a special close training camp in Kathmandu on Sunday. (Right) Pemba Sherpa practices climbing. Photo Courtesy: NSJF
KATHMANDU, Aug 6: Nepal is set to make its third appearance in the international sports climbing, a gradually rising sports in Nepal, in the upcoming Asian Games to be hosted by Indonesia from August 18 to September 2.
This is the first time sports climbing has been included in the Asian Games. Similarly, the sport is also included in the next Summer Olympics to be held in Tokyo in 2020.
This will be an ideal opportunity for Nepal to understand the rigor of the sport in big tournaments like Asian Games or Olympics. The initial target is to finish within the top 10 spots of the marquee Asian event, said Meghraj Paudel, the general secretary of Nepal Sports Climbing Association.
“We started training the players since the end of April. The players also have more experience than the last time Nepal participated in an international event,” said Paudel.
National champion Pemba Sherpa and Pranil Man Shrestha will represent Nepal in different categories of speed, lead and bouldering during the Asian Games. Coach Sun Bahadur Gurung has been working with the participating duo since May, whereas Swiss coach Etienne Grillot joined the camp last Wednesday.
The Swiss coach is impressed by the speed of the Nepali climbers. “In big tournaments, all the players participate to win the Gold; we need to be mentally strong to compete against them. Pemba’s speed is good. Pranil is promising too,” said Grillot.
Sherpa, 17, has been working hard to bring positive results in the Asian Games. “We have improved a lot since the arrival of the foreign coach. We improved in our techniques. I am aiming to win a medal in lead or speed category,” he said.
Similarly, Shrestha, 28, said the arrival of the Swiss coach has come as a big encouragement to the players. “I have improved a lot in speed since his arrival. I am aiming to win medal for Nepal,” he said.
Nepal is yet to win a single noticeable medal in international sports climbing competitions, although Nepali citizens are considered to be adept at mountaineering and climbing due to the country’s geographical terrain.
“We have a good future in sports climbing. We are working hard for that. The life experience of hill- and Himalayan-region people is already helpful for this sport. If we can manage to capitalize on that, we can produce many quality players,” said general secretary Paudel.