An interview with The World Games Athlete of the Year: Reza Alipourshenazandifar.
First of all, our sincere congratulations on being awarded the title The World Games Athlete of the Year. What does this title mean to you?
Reza Alipourshenazandifar: Thank you for your congratulations, and of course thanks to all my fans who voted for me. I am very grateful for the support.
The title means a lot to me, because it’s not only an honour for me, it’s an honour for my country as well. There is a lot which is connected to this award. Being supported by so many people from Iran actually feels very good. Speed Climbing is not an Olympic discipline but it turns out I seem to be well recognised in my country. Elsewhere, there were not so many fans casting their votes for me. But my fans trust me and this means a lot me. This title brings back all the good memories of last year’s World Games in Wroclaw.
You gained more than 90,000 votes. How come that you were able to encourage your fans to support you?
Reza Alipourshenazandifar: As far as know I received most votes from Iran. That did not come as a surprise. I am from Iran and the people in my country love a champion. I do admit that I checked the results day by day, and it turned out that there was a chance for me to win the award. So I asked my friends to support me. Which they did!
Please share with us your experiences in Wroclaw.
Reza Alipourshenazandifar: I had a great time there. The World Games were a wonderful experience. It’s different to the World Championships or other competitions in my sport. It’s a multi-sport event and you represent your country. Winning the Gold Medal made a dream come true. Becoming The World Games Champion was one of my set goals. I could not partake in the previous edition in Cali. And it’s not certain that I will make it to the Games in Birmingham in 2021. So I went to Wroclaw and couldn’t think of anything else except winning the Gold Medal. I felt my body was ready to achieve the first gold medal ever for Iran at The World Games. And so I did. Yes, I had a really great time in Wroclaw.
How can you focus on climbing up a wall with a height of 15 metres in less than seven seconds?
Reza Alipourshenazandifar: There’s no doubt that it’s to do with strength and technique. During a competition it’s also a matter of concentration. While I am climbing I try to finish the task with all my ability. I don’t think about the past and I don’t think about the future. I just think of what is important right now. Since I was a child I have strived to become a champion whenever I compete. But I would like to add to this: I prefer to be a powerful loser than a weak winner. It’s about giving your best every time.
What do you do when you are not practicing or competing? Do you have any hobbies?
Reza Alipourshenazandifar: Yes, I have one: it’s climbing! I love to do rock climbing with my friend in the mountains of Iran.
What’s next? Are there any goals left?
Reza Alipourshenazandifar: There are always goals left and titles to be won. I will compete in this year IFSC World Tour and of course I want to defend my title as the World Champion. I want to set a new world record. And you never know, maybe I will be able to compete in the Olympics in Tokyo 2020. Finally with a little luck I will be able to defend my The World Games title in Birmingham. There are still a lot of summits to be reached.