Climbers do the drill at JRD Tata Sports Complex on Wednesday. (Bhola Prasad)
Jamshedpur residents are literally on a high, thanks to Tata Steel Adventure Foundation (TSAF).
The 45ft artificial wall at JRD Tata Sports Complex, set up by TSAF, has started attracting adventure buffs. Around 12 to 14 junkies are picking up the ropes — er, steps — fast and scaling up the wall to stay fit.
“People are showing keen interest in sport climbing. Enquiries for registration are pouring in on a daily basis,” said TSAF secretary P.P. Kapadia.
The participants are learning the tricks of the trade from experienced TSAF trainers from 4pm to 7pm every day. Many times, enthusiasm makes both trainers and trainee forget to watch the clock. Classes extend beyond 7pm for which arrangements for lights have been made.
Earlier, the one-of-its-kind wall in Jharkhand was reserved for Tata Steel employees and their families as well as rural youths from nearby areas. The facility was thrown open for the public only last month.
While non-Tata Steel employees shell out Rs 600 a month or Rs 70 per day, the rates for company officials are Rs 500 and Rs 60, respectively.
Minors need to pay Rs 400 for a month’s training or Rs 50 for a day’s stint.
For 35-year-old Rajkishore Lal, sport climbing is an exciting activity. “I have begun to like the sport. I am a bit of a fitness freak, but have never tried anything like this earlier. The trainers are very co-operative and hence learning is fun,” said the Mango resident.
If Lal is enjoying the sport, Sidhgora resident Bruj Bhushan Singh (40) is overcoming a long-time fear of heights.
“I used to be afraid of heights. Now I’m braver. I manage to climb up to 25ft. There is no fear factor, as TSAF has adopted all safety measures,” said the former shuttler battling his acrophobia.
Organisers hope children will find the sport exciting.
“Only few youngsters have enrolled, but we are sure numbers will swell once our winter camp for schoolchildren begins on December 21,” said TSAF manager Hemant Gupta.
The 11-day camp will be conducted from 7am to 8.30am and 3pm to 4.30pm.
Gupta added the students would have to shell out Rs 200 each for learning the sport under experienced hands.
Those interested can email email@example.com and contact Deepankar Banerjee.
Certificates will be given to those who complete the training programme successfully.
At the end of the camp, a competition will be held for different age groups.
The adventure body had made serious efforts to popularise sport climbing. Besides zonal contests under the aegis of Indian Mountaineering Federation, TSAF had also set up an exclusive centre in 2006. They had also approached Jamshedpur Old Girls’ and Guys’ Association (Jogga) to include sport climbing.
“Things did not make much headway. But finally, we can sense a change. Daily enquiries are an indicator. I am sure this trend will continue,” Kapadia said.