Stories of Ambitions
new challenges and
a new generation
12 months on from the JLL training camp and mock competition, we caught up with Siddhi Manerikar to see how she’s adapting to the challenges imposed by covid-19 and the postponed Olympics.
How did you feel coming away from the experience in Japan?
The training camp was a real eye-opener for me. Seeing the different climbers and picking up different techniques and skills has had a big impact. It was an amazing experience; I learnt a lot in such a short space of time.
Which experiences or moments stood out for you?
Definitely the motion capture technology, that was something so new and interesting to me. It showed me where my movements could improve and gave me a new perspective.
Also having the guidance and mentoring of Ian Dunn. He was able to share so much with me. And I couldn’t wait to get back to training and competitions to put this into practice.
What competitions have you been taking part in?
Right after the camp I took part in a competition in India. I got the silver medal in lead climbing and 4th in the bouldering, but the biggest achievement for me was getting 7th in the speed event. This has never been my strongest event, I was so pleased with my progress. I felt great coming out of the camp and then straight into a good performance in that competition, I felt like I could take on anything. I’ve even taking up a new discipline – ice climbing!
Ice climbing! How incredible. How is it different from sport climbing?
It’s totally different. The demands on your body are very different and you need a lot of power to work on the hard ice. But it’s finding challenges like this that drives me, I know in the long run it’s how I’ll become the best climber I can be.
Did this success carry on through the rest of the season?
I went to the Olympic qualifier in August and I was happy, I placed 72/90 in combined disciplines. Then I went to Indonesia and did well in some relay speed and bouldering events. The last competition I entered was the Indian Nationals where I placed 4th place in the lead and bouldering events and 8th in speed climbing. I was a little disappointed, I had gone into it thinking I could win, but I’m still trying to take away the positives.
We are lucky to have a new bouldering facility in Mumbai that was previously used in a World Cup competition, it’s fantastic to have access to and I was really enjoying training on there while I had chance.
What did you learn from the experience?
It made me realise I still have a long way to go, and I can’t go it alone. Without a specialist coach, I know I’m missing out on the guidance that could help me go further, and the other athletes I’m competing against will be getting. To really get to the next level, I know I need someone who can push and guide me the way Ian and the other climbers did.
You had previously faced difficulties in accessing facilities in Mumbai. Has anything changed?
We are lucky to have a new bouldering facility in Mumbai that was previously used in a World Cup competition, it’s fantastic to have access to and I was really enjoying training on there while I had chance. It’s a shame I can’t use it now with the virus restrictions in place, but I can’t wait to get back there and start training hard again.
Have developments like this led to increased interest in climbing in India?
There have been so many people inspired by climbing in recent years. I want to be able to do my part to help them. If I can teach them my techniques and help get where they want to go, that will mean so much to me. I plan to enroll on an instructor training course as soon as I can.
And with the partnership with JLL continuing, what are you looking forward to?
I’m very grateful for the support of JLL, it means I can travel and explore more opportunities to climb. I can’t wait to get back to travelling and competing when things get back to normal. The support will help me with this and getting more coaching which is what I really need to progress going forward and achieve my ambitions.
See more of Siddhi’s story of ambition in our short film here and stay up to date with all of our climbers’ progress here as we follow their journey throughout the year