Inaugural Tata Steel Sport Climbing Championship 2019 draws to a close

The inaugural edition of ‘Tata Steel Sport Climbing Championship 2019’, a three-day (Dec 21-23, 2019) open competition for young climbers between the age group of 6 and 16 and organised by Tata Steel Adventure Foundation (TSAF), concluded on December 23, 2019.

The championship become the first such competition in India to follow the Combined format (lead, speed & bouldering) which will be used in Olympics 2020. The competition also included the speed relay team event.

A total of 154 young and aspiring champions, including the current national champions, took part in the three-day event held in the city of Jamshedpur. The championship witnessed participants from around 12 states including Jharkhand, Odisha, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Delhi. Players form Jharkhand & Maharashtra dominated the competition with a tally of 14 medals out of 18 medals in the individual performance events.

The prize distribution ceremony, organised at the championship venue – JRD Tata Sports Complex, Jamshedpur, was graced with the presence of Mr Chanakya Chaudhary, VP, Corporate Services, Tata Steel, and Ms. Bachendri Pal, India’s ace veteran climber and TSAF’s Mentor.

Congratulating all the winners and the participants, Mr. Chanakya Chaudhary, Vice President, Corporate Services, Tata Steel, and Chief Guest of the event: “We are glad to see some amazing young talent perform at the successful inaugural edition of the championship. Tata Steel will continue to invest in the future of sport climbing in India by supporting domestic talent hunts such as this one. As a major benefactor of sports in India, we will strive for excellence in our quest to identify and groom the best talent to represent India in the 2024 Olympics.”

Ms Bachendri Pal, TSAF’s Mentor, said: “I am delighted to see so many young champions waiting to make a name for themselves in climbing. Over the last few decades I have been involved in this sport, I have seen a consistent rise in people’s interest in climbing both as a hobby and professional sport. I am also excited about the prospect of spotting the members of the Indian climbing contingent for 2024 Olympics through this championship. My best wishes to all the participants and the winners.”

TSAF plans to make this championship the flagship annual climbing event in India that will introduce this new and emerging international sporting event to the Indian youth and help identify and groom potential talent to represent India in the 2024 Olympics. This annual sporting event is also a new platform to involve the community at large and facilitate a wide adoption of climbing in India and create a network of institutions and stakeholders to increase the reach of the sport.

Climbing is now an Olympics event and has been included in Tokyo Olympics 2020 for the first time. Climbing is now becoming an urban sport and is getting popular with schools and even defence forces setting-up climbing walls. More than 25 million people in the world regularly try climbing as a sport. Tokyo, Germany and France have more than 500 climbing gyms while India alone has around 100 good climbing walls accessible to kids and the general public.

The Tata Group through TSAF and Tata Trusts has been a pioneer in developing sport climbing in India. The first wall at Indian Mountaineering Foundation was sponsored by Tata Steel in 1994 & named as ‘JRD Tata Wall’. The two climbing world cups, hosted in India, were organised by a private club and sponsored by Tata Trusts. The Tata Steel Adventure Foundation Climbing Centre was set up in 2014 and has since developed into one of the best available facilities in India to promote the sport and nurture young talent. TSAF has also been supporting many under-privileged children by providing training, nutrition, lodging and education.

Recently, Tata Steel Adventure Foundation’s (TSAF) cadet Anisha Verma (15) from Jamshedpur became the first female climber from East Zone (Jharkhand, West Bengal, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Odisha) to win a medal at the Asian Youth Championship. Anisha won a silver medal in speed climbing at the championship, organised by International Federation of Sport Climbing and Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF), in Bengaluru from December 11-15, 2019.