Rock Climber Rekabi Keen on Jakarta Asian Games, 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Elnaz Rekabi has gradually risen  to international fame.Elnaz Rekabi has gradually risen  to international fame.

Iranian woman rock climbing medal winner Elnaz Rekabi has said her focus is on the Asian Games in Jakarta and she hopes to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic where the game will be debuted.

She is currently training to improve her performance and achieve better results at the upcoming competitions, Sputnik reported on Sunday.

Rekabi was attracted to climbing in her youth when her brother became an Asian vice champion in competitive climbing at a competition in Zanjan, in northwest Iran. She began to climb in 2001 and has been the Iranian champion in lead climbing (when you need to reach the top of the rock within a certain time), bouldering (climbing on routes up to six meters and on extremely difficult routes with hostile inclinations) and speed climbing for 15 years.

She has won 84 medals: eight gold, including a gold medal at the Adidas Rockstars boulder competition in Stuttgart, Germany, a gold medal at the Asian Rock Climbing Cup, a silver in bouldering at the Asia Climbing Championship, another silver at the Asia Climbing Championship in Iran and a bronze medal in lead climbing at the Asian Sport Climbing Championship in Indonesia.

An estimated 200 women annually take part in rock climbing competitions in Iran. Rekabi has achieved remarkable success and has gradually risen to international fame. She says climbing is a unique sport, which develops not only physical strength, but also fortitude. “Both these factors are equally important to achieve victory.”

According to Rekabi there has been a breakthrough in competitive climbing over the past several years. Reza Alipour, a record breaker in speed climbing, and the bouldering team were the most successful. Female climbers have also shown good results, winning medals in junior and adult competitions.

Rekabi also ventured into the difficulties undermining Iranian sports. One of the problems is lack of financial support, she notes. The likes of Rekabi and other sportsmen and women who represent national teams have to pay from their own pockets to participate in international events.

“Lack of financing is one of the reasons why we miss many international tournaments. As for me, I have no problem in competing for the last two years because Zarin Iran Porcelain and DWX are my sponsors and provide [me] with sport equipment. But it’s a pity that sponsor support has come so late. If it had happened earlier I could have done much more!” Rekabi rues.

Besides competing, Elnaz works as a coach and has been training the junior climbing team for two years. She loves the young athletes, is proud of their success and hopes that they fulfill their dreams of becoming world champions.

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