Farnaz Esmaeilzadeh is a self-taught Iranian female rock climber who has won medals in both national and international arenas. She now coaches a new generation of female athletes and has high hopes for the future
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SOUNDBITE [Persian] Farnaz Esmaeilzadeh, Rock Climbing Athlete: “Rock climbing is like living. We all face difficulties. All people face hardships in life but successful is the person who can overcome those difficulties with self-esteem and self-confidence and be sure that ease would follow.
I’m Farnaz Esmaeilzadeh, a member of Iran’s rock climbing team. I would like to pass on all that I have learned to children because I never had a coach. It’s good that children are nowadays starting from an early age. The kids who are now starting can make future champions.
First try to change your hands on only a few hand holds and criss cross immediately, then change your hands again and cross.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Samaneh Najafi, Farnaz’s Protégé: “Well, Ms. Esmaeilzadeh is my coach and I’ve been practicing with her for four years. She’s very patient, kind and powerful.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Farnaz Esmaeilzadeh, Rock Climbing Athlete: “Try to remember the hand holds I show you to increase your mental strength as well. First these two hand holds, then grip this one and change hands. I want you to use the criss cross technique and go to this one and this is your last hand hold.
That’s the one, hold it. That’s it, let go of your right hand. Great! Hold on with both hands. Bravo! Hold on with both hands. Thanks!”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Samaneh Najafi, Farnaz’s Protégé: “When I first started, I used to fall from the wall several times and get scared. I was very much afraid of the wall, but she made every effort and acted kindly and patiently. She used to give up her own practice session. She had international competitions, but she would somehow come over and practice with us. She never only thought about her own competition but there were others who did.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Farnaz Esmaeilzadeh, Rock Climbing Athlete: “I think there’s a bright future for rock climbing, especially in Iran. Nowadays many kids start rock climbing from a very early age and the federation holds many competitions for children so there is a brighter future.
Since rock climbing is a sport that needs high body strength and stamina, I need to practice on a daily basis and keep myself fit and prepared.
A lot of concentration is required, particularly in my field, which is speed climbing. I do a lot of mental practice and I have to build my cardiovascular strength.
I started rock climbing at the age of 13 but when we went to the Asian Games in Macao in 2007, I tried to work on a more professional level and gradually carried on in the field of speed climbing.
Since seeing renowned international competitors in the Climbing World Championships in Italy in 2011, I truly felt that I could be one of them.”
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SOUNDBITE [Persian] Javad Esmaeilzadeh, Farnaz’s Father: “Knowing her perseverance and the interest she has in this field, I felt that she would be well known someday, maybe not in the international arena but at least in Asia and that’s exactly what happened.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Farnaz Esmaeilzadeh, Rock Climbing Athlete: “Since I was a teenager, I’ve always been interested in writing poems. This is my first work, which includes different styles of poetry and various kinds of poems. Well, I managed to publish it. I have dedicated this to my dear parents. Here I have written, “Dedicated to my two flying wings, my most kindhearted mother and father” When I go into nature, I get a very good feeling. I feel at peace and somehow find myself. I sit and think about the things I have done in life until now and about my future. I come here and try to be to myself for a while.
Usually when I encounter a crux, I try to find the best path to get through that difficult point. The best possible path and uuum, I first try to get even with myself that I am capable of doing it, not to lose hope fast. I know that there is ease after that hardship. With this hope, I pass through the hardship.
Speed climbing, uuum, is a combination of agility and power and the anaerobic system, which means you should have a powerful heart, be swift and at the same time have strong muscles.
Uuuh, it’s a very exciting field. Two people climb side by side at the same time and it’s far more competitive. It could be very exciting for the viewer.
In these years, my major achievements have been an Asia gold medal, an Asia silver medal, two Asia bronze medals and an overall bronze medal. I also managed to win a gold medal in the State Competitions in Canada and well, I won a gold medal this year. I practiced very hard for that competition. I remember writing down the name of all my competitors and their achievements and sticking them up on the wall in my room. I tried to perform as well as I could.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Samaneh Najafi, Farnaz’s Protégé: “When their hand touches the sensor, when her hand touched that sensor … I only managed to hug Ms. Esmaeilzadeh when she was over there with the reporters. It was one the best moments of my life.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Parvin Tabrizi, Farnaz’s Mother: “That was when I took pride in myself and boasted that the person standing in the middle, Farnaz, for whom the national anthem was being played, is my daughter.”
SOUNDBITE [Persian] Farnaz Esmaeilzadeh, Rock Climbing Athlete: “This little girl has just started rock climbing. I had never seen her before. She came to Zanjan with her parents and showed me her drawings. Well, to me it was quite interesting that she had drawn a picture of her mom and herself watching me climb. Her name was Rojin and they’d come here from Rasht. These may be very small things, but they’re very precious to me and I always keep them. When I go for competitions, I look at these before the contest and become motivated to fight harder.”