By Morgan Hume, Contributing author
SHREWSBURY – As Olympians took part in the rock climbing at the Olympics last summer, a teenager from Shrewsbury was putting his climbing skills to the test here at home. Anshul Dadwal, now a senior at Saint John’s High School, has traveled the country competing in rock climbing.
Start to climb
Dadwal has spent most of his life rock climbing. His father helped spark his love for the sport by showing him how to climb when he was about three years old. His love for it only grew and he started learning to indoor rock climb around the age of five.
“At first I didn’t really want to fall because I was afraid of getting hurt,” Dadwal said.
“But I just got used to it.”
By the age of 10, Dadwal was getting more serious about his skills, and his journey only accelerated from there.
A climber wins his place in a big competition
Dadwal participates in various climbing competitions. Specifically, he competed in the US National Climbing Championships in Reno, Nevada over the summer for both bouldering and sport climbing, having qualified for both at regionals.
“I didn’t do as well as I wanted but I can go next year and do better,” Dadwal said.
The trip to Nevada, indeed, came after hours of hard work and dedication.
Dadwal trains three days a week in Worcester, learning from coaches who help him improve his weaknesses.
He also participates in open competitions, in which climbers of all ages can participate. He said it gave him experience competing with adults, who are older and might have more experience than him.
The pandemic interrupts the climbing routine
For a time, Dadwal was unable to compete in the types of competitions where he excels due to the pandemic.
Although Dadwal has an eight foot high stone wall installed in his garage, he said last year was
difficult because he couldn’t go to the gym like he normally did.
“I didn’t really notice how much I missed competition until the pandemic hit and I couldn’t compete anymore…” says Dadwal. “It was boring enough without climbing.”
Advice to other climbers
Dadwal was also a beginner. And while many are afraid of falling or reaching new heights, he has advice for those looking to get into the sport.
Dadwal said that to become a complete climber, people need to work on a variety of skills instead of just relying on their strengths.
His other advice is to bring some friends and try rock climbing just for fun.
“Don’t worry about not being able to do the hard stuff and just have fun,” Dadwal said. “You don’t need to do any exercises or anything, just climb.”
“There are much harder things I can try”
As Dadwal wraps up his high school career, he plans to compete in national championships again next year.
He is also looking to the future and he said he wanted to spend more time climbing
outdoors and visiting places in New England that might offer him more of a challenge. He said that one day he hopes to travel to Spain or California to do more outdoor climbing.
“In the gym they are only set at a certain level, but outside there are much harder things I can try and I really want to try,” Dadwal said.
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