Climbing star Kim Ja-in wants to enjoy Tokyo Olympics after finishing third in Hong Kong

The South Korean former world champion says she doesn’t want to focus on winning a medal when climbing makes its Games debut in 2020

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 08 January, 2017, 8:20pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 08 January, 2017, 10:43pm

Former world champion Kim Ja-in, of South Korea, was upstaged by two Singapore climbers on Sunday as Hong Kong played host to the first international climbing event on the long road to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Felicia Lim and Vanessa Teng completed a one-two finish for Singapore at the Kailas Just Climb 2017 event at OIympic City, as lead specialist Kim finished third in a competition that only featured boulder climbing.

But there was success for Kim’s brother Kim Ja-bee in the men’s event as he justified his favourite status with victory over second-placed Muhammad Hilman, of Singapore, and Macau’s Lok Wan-tong.

For Red Bull climber Kim Ja-in, the Hong Kong event is merely the first step as she tries to perfect her skills in all three climbing disciplines for 2020, when the sport makes its Olympic debut.

“In the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, athletes need to participate in all three disciplines: lead, bouldering, and speed,” she said.

“My major event is lead climbing, I need to put more effort on the other two disciplines when I’m training.

“I will not set my target on any kind of medal. The Olympic Games is a great event, I just want to enjoy it instead of concentrating on the result.”

Hong Kong had one competitor in the two main events, with Chan Paak-lok finishing sixth and last in the men’s competition.

Kim offered some advice to budding Hong Kong climbers hoping for success in international tournaments.

“To be a sports climbing athlete, you need to be well-rounded and very skilful,” she said. “Therefore, the training part is essential.

“It could be boring too but you need to persevere. You need to learn how to enjoy the sport, find the fun. Then you can overcome all the difficulties and get through.”