Gone in Seven Seconds: ‘Spiderwoman’ Breaks Women’s Climbing Speed ​​Record | Escalation

Despite stubborn injuries to her hands and fingers, Indonesia’s Aries Susanti Rahayu broke the women’s speed climbing world record at this weekend’s IFSC Climbing World Cup in Xiamen, China. Rahayu’s 6.995 seconds eclipsed the record set by her rival – China’s Song Yiling – who completed the 15-metre course in 7.101 seconds in April.

So what exactly is speed climbing? And how difficult was Rayahu’s accomplishment?

Speed ​​climbing is one of three disciplines in the climbing event that will debut at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Think of it as a climbing triathlon: competitors will be scored on their combined results of speed climbing (a timed race between two athletes on a 15-meter wall), bouldering (a graded course with several routes of varying difficulty to be completed in four minutes) and lead climbing (how high a climber can climb in six minutes).

Rahayu is a speed climber. Nicknamed ‘Spiderwoman’ after a stellar performance in 2018, the 24-year-old star was the only Indonesian athlete to make Forbes Asia’s ’30 Under 30′ list and will likely compete for gold next summer in Tokyo.

Critics of the inclusion of speed climbing cite its lack of focus on technique and concentration; but the winner of any race will have identified the tightest angles of the wall and secured their feet and hands to the holds without slipping, while going as fast as possible. Note that Rayahu’s opponent – ​​the former world record holder Yiling – skids at the start of the race and still completes the course in less than 10 seconds.

To calculate the speed at which Rahayu reached the top of the wall, she reached an average speed of about 7.71 km/h over 15 meters. That’s the equivalent of running a 5K in 39 minutes – while doing pull-ups. Rahayu managed to keep that pace while scaling a wall it looks like this.

Pretty impressive, right?

Virginia F. Goins