Pakistan’s premier sports climber, Iqra Jillani, is poised to carve a historic mark for her nation in the forthcoming Asian Games, slated to kick off in Hangzhou, China, on September 23. Setting her sights firmly on clinching a medal in sports climbing, Iqra has been immersed in rigorous training for the past three months to bring her ambitions to fruition.
A professional in the energy sector holding a bachelor’s degree in marketing, Iqra is part of the elite quintet selected to represent Pakistan in the grand event. Together with her teammates Amani Jannat, Fazal Wadood, Zaheer Ahmed, and Abuzar Faiz, they spearhead Pakistan’s foray into the sports climbing category. Operating under the expert guidance of the Pakistan Sports Board and the Alpine Club of Pakistan, the team has exhibited peak performance throughout their training sessions, aiming to elevate Pakistan to the top echelons of the climbing sphere at the games.
First Female Climbers Representing Pakistan
Marking its second stint in the Asian Games since its introduction in 2018, the sports climbing event promises intense competition and a chance for athletes from various countries to vie for six gold medals from September 28 to October 2. Breaking new ground, Iqra and Amani stand as the inaugural female representatives for Pakistan in the climbing segment, a significant leap from the previous edition, where the nation’s representation was confined to male contenders Mushahid Hussain and Sajid Aslam.
For Iqra, stepping into this prestigious platform embodies an immense honour and a pinnacle of pride, albeit acknowledging the stiff competition lying ahead, notably from contenders hailing from China, Indonesia, and Japan. In the realm of climbing, Iqra draws her inspiration from Pakistan’s distinguished mountaineer, Naila Kiani, whose achievements resonate as a beacon of motivation for the aspiring climber. Embellishing her climbing portfolio, Iqra embarked on a trek to the base camp of K2 last year.
Responding to queries on the intricacies between sports climbing and mountaineering, Iqra underscored the distinct dynamics governing both sports. While mountaineering offers a leisurely conquest of various peaks amidst diverse and challenging terrains, sports climbing demands agility and speed to scale artificial walls within a stipulated time frame. She emphasized the necessity of specialized training for aspiring sports climbers to hone their skills for competitive climbing.