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Sports Climber Siddhi Manerikar Tells Us How Her Journey Began With Plucking Fruits From Trees

  • IWB Post
  •  August 16, 2019

“I was good at climbing trees.”

That’s how Siddhi’s journey began. The young woman from Mumbai, today, stands tall in the world ranking for “sports climbing.” What is sports climbing? It is a form of rock climbing which is held indoors. The permanent anchors are fixed to the rocks for protection. Excerpts from a chat:

About climbing trees! Ever stole anything?

Well, we have a farm in our village, and it has a lot of trees. I used to climb the ones that are not so tall. But yeah, we loved plucking fruits off the trees. I have always loved climbing and cannot believe that I was a part of the Sports Climbing world cup.

Tell us about the training sessions during the preparation for the World Cup.

I was not in India for the past couple of months. I was trained by an international traveler coach. First, I got trained in Slovenia, then competed in an event in Italy, following which, I went to Switzerland (Zurich), where I practiced my climbing.

Back in India, I trained myself in the gym, would do regular pull-ups and push-ups. I’d take different routes to climb rocks, here, back home.

Any special diets followed?

None at all. My diet was fairly simple. Morning began with poori bhaji, followed by dal chawal in the afternoon, and the same during the night.

Following the World Cup, Siddhi climbed up the charts and became the only Indian shining in the world ranking in the sport. In 2018, Siddhi climbed Samsara, arguably the hardest sport route ever climbed by a female climber from India, and has set the bar higher for her peers by climbing a 5:13b/8a route in Badami.

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Who was cheering for you the most in the audience?

Haha, my mom. My father doesn’t show his emotions at all. He always tries to encourage me with tough love. Even though people find it funny that I took up a sport being a girl, it didn’t affect my parents in any way. They have always appreciated me.

Though, I always feel that if there were more girls in the sport it would be fun. We would have some girl talks!

Having climbed Samsara, do you feel any different now?

Nothing except the fact that I now believe I am capable of executing projects.

Do you have any other interests apart from sport climbing?

Dancing and badminton were there, but I somehow always managed to get back to climbing. Whatever time I was left with after studying, I used to channel it to climbing.

What’s next?

It makes me happy that other female climbers take my Samsara climb as an inspiration to further push themselves and pursue such projects. I look forward to undertaking many more projects in Badami as well as in other parts of India.

Excerpts from interview with IWB in 2017 and Outdoor Journal in 2018.

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