Steel city teen puts sport climbing on a new high

Class VIII boy sole participant from East Zone to represent India at Asian meet in Iran later this month

By Jayesh Thaker
  • Published 10.09.16
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A file picture of Talim Ansari sweating it out at JRD Tata Sports Complex in Bistupur, Jamshedpur

All of 13, he's one rocker to watch out for.

Meet Talim Ansari, a Class VIII boy from Jamshedpur, who is East Zone's only member to don the India jersey for the Asian Youth Sport Climbing Championship in Tehran, Iran, between September 26 and 30. Eight sport climbers, three of them girls, are part of Team India.

East Zone comprises Jharkhand, Bengal, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Odisha. According to a source in Tata Steel Adventure Foundation (TSAF), Jharkhand's only promoter of sport climbing and Talim's training ground, the boy is an East Zone contender after a long gap. Six years ago, two older boys from the Northeast had made it as East Zone contenders when the region was included in the zone.

Talim will compete in the C group with participants between the ages of 13 and 15 in categories such as bouldering, lead and speed climbing.

An ecstatic TSAF manager said they came to know Talim's selection in the national contingent late on Thursday. "We got the news about Talim's selection from the Indian Mountaineering Foundation in New Delhi late last evening. It's a huge achievement," TSAF manager Hemant Gupta told this correspondent.

Talim had attended the selection trial for the Asian meet held in Delhi from September 5 to 7. He performed exceptionally well.

The boy, who will leave for Tehran from Delhi on September 24, said on Friday the feeling was yet to sink in. " Bahut khush hoon. Medal ke liye pura zor laga dunga (I'm very happy. Will put in my best for a medal)," he said over phone from New Delhi.

TSAF is hoping for a medal too. "For the Delhi trials, Talim worked hard and we're hoping results show in Tehran too," Gupta said. "TSAF put him into a swimming and basketball regimen in addition to climbing stints on the 50-feet artificial wall at JRD Tata Sports Complex in Bistupur. He worked under Bibhas Roy, a Calcutta-based route setter hired by TSAF."

The adventure outfit also has big hopes from this boy for yet another reason. Sport climbing has been included as an event in the 2020 Olympic Games to be held in Tokyo, Japan, and the TSAF is hoping to produce an Olympian.

Talim, who studies in DBMS Lilliput School and lives in Dhatkidih, has been brought up single-handedly by his mother Salma Parveen. When Talim was only two months old, his father passed away.

Not surprisingly, his mother is now over the moon at the boy's achievement. " Kya bataun. Itni khush hoon ki bayan nahin kar sakti (What to say? I cannot describe my happiness in words)," she told this correspondent.

Salma had reason to be proud of Talim last year too, when he became the first from Jharkhand to claim a medal at the national sport climbing meet in New Delhi from November 27 to 30. He bagged a silver in lead climbing category while representing East Zone.