BUENOS AIRES – Six young athletes competed in the men’s Olympics sports climbing finals on Thursday, which made a debut at the Youth Olympics 2018 before its future inclusion in the upcoming 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
The audience silently watched as the young athletes outlined their climb with their hands after having only five minutes to examine and find a possible route to climb the structure.
Japan took the gold and silver medal in the sports climbing event in Buenos Aires, in which participants, who are 17 and 18 years old, sometimes seem to be in impossible positions trying to reach the next point of support.
“The most important thing is mental strength, not giving in to the feelings you have when you’re going up,” 17-year-old Keita Dohi, the newest Olympic champion, told the media.
Dohi is already 47th in the world rankings, in a sport in which Japan is the main power.
Both Dohi and the rest of the athletes who reached the men’s final on Thursday and the women’s final on Tuesday had to demonstrate their mental capacity, as well as physical strength, agility, speed and flexibility.
The young, 1.7-meter height, gold medalist explained that those skills are obviously important, but it does not make a difference whether one shows those skills during the contest or not, adding that even if he is not as strong as other athletes, it makes him happy knowing that he was the strongest in this competition.
Dohi began climbing less than 10 years ago. While other kids played baseball or football, he climbed. Later he discovered that there are climbing competitions and now his dream is to represent his country in 2020, when sport climbing will make its debut in the Olympic Summer Games in Tokyo.