Named Equilibrium, the country’s first indoor gym promises to revolutionise the sport in India. It is the execution of an idea that has nestled in Keerthi Pais’s mind for long.
Pais, chief national coach and until recently the Director of Indian Mountaineering Foundation’s sport climbing committee, has been toying with the idea for years, but it was only recently that it found fruition. He was discussing it with a friend, Sriram Devatha, whose family owns Devatha Plaza (a commercial complex) on Residency Road. Sriram suggested they could set up a gym on the sixth floor. Work on the place took two months, and by the look of things, Equilibrium is just what the city needed for sport enthusiasts.
Built by national champion Praveen CM, what strikes one immediately are the bright colours of the walls and holds that will attract children. There are multiple routes and gradients, designed to cater to first-timers and professionals. The climbing area is air-conditioned, and with crash mats spread underneath, climbers can spend the entire day on the walls by themselves or with friends. One part of the gym has training equipment (treadmill, weight balls, trampoline, etc), while another section has a retail store for adventure products that will be run by former international medalist and national champion Archana BS. Climbers can either buy shoes from the store or rent them for their climbs. Keerthi also plans to open a small café from where people can watch climbers in action, and possibly a cycle store as well.
For Keerthi, the gym is “a dream come true. I’ve been thinking of this for many years, but it all fell into place over just one conversation,” he says. “This can improve the standard of our climbers. It will also attract new climbers. I will also be conducting national camps here, so we will have the country’s best climbers training in Bangalore. We have all the equipment required to train top-class climbers; they don’t need to seek anything elsewhere. This is the sort of facility that international climbers have access to, but which we’ve never had. We haven’t compromised on anything. We got the holds from Korea, because their texture is such that it won’t hurt your fingers.”
The gym will also help in cross-training athletes of other sports, and Keerthi plans to invite them to train at Equilibrium. After all, climbing does wonders to the upper body in particular, and a session on the walls can be both fun and useful in building strength. But it’s for the climbing community that the wall holds most significance, and with the city already having produced the country’s best climbers, such as Praveen CM, Chea Marak, Archana BS, Vathsala MN and Karthik CP, among others, Equilibrium promises better times ahead.
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- Local climber looks to display skills at home national event this week (gazette.com)