Aug 05, 2014

Athlete Profile: Manikandan Kumar

Hi, I'm Manikandan Kumar, from Bangalore, and India’s only para-climbing world champion.


The Outdoor Journal

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I love two things – climbing and training others.

Mani has been consistently making waves in international climbing competitions with achievements in paraclimbing championships internationally for the past three years. Since India does not have a category for paraclimbers, Mani competes here with able-bodied climbers, and despite his disability, is considered one of the top ten climbers overall in the country today.

Coming from a disadvantaged background, Mani was diagnosed with polio in his right leg when he was five. In the normal course of things he would never have entered this path in life. But at the age of 15, Mani was introduced to climbing at an adventure camp for disabled people. It was, as he puts it, ‘love at first sight.’ No one in his family had even heard of rock climbing as sport. It came rather as a shock to his parents when Mani declared that he was going to pursue climbing professionally. They expected him to work towards becoming a mechanic or finding a similar “stable” profession more becoming to someone from his background, than climbing. Mani has not allowed his physical disability and financial constraints to come in the way of pursuing his dreams.

His greatest achievement came in 2012 when he was able to travel to France to compete in the IFSC Paraclimbing World Championship, held in the Bercy stadium in Paris. Mani won the gold medal. When he is not competing, he works as an independent climbing coach in Bangalore.

Competition Highlights

  • IFSC Climbing World Championships – 2014, held in Gijon, Spain – 2nd position
  • IFSC Parclimbing Cup – 2014, held in Sheffield, London – 2nd position
  • IFSC Paraclimbing Event 2014, held in Imst, Austria – 2nd position
  • IFSC Para-Climbing Cup, London, 2013 – 2nd (Arthritis & Neurological P.D.)
  • Rock Masters Para-Climbing Cup, Arco, 2013 – 2nd (Arthritis & Neurological P.D.)
  • IFSC World Para-Climbing Championships, Paris, 2012 – 1st (Arthritis & Neurological P.D.)
  • GETHNAA South Zone Climbing Championships, Bangalore, 2012 – 4th
  • GETHNAA South zone climbing championships, Bangalore, 2007 – 4th
  • Open Nationals, Delhi, 2005 – 2nd
  • IMF National climbing championships, Delhi, 2003 – 7th
  • GETHNAA South zone climbing championships, Bangalore, 2003 – 4th

 Notable Ascents – Lead and Boulder

  • French-Indian Masala, Badami – 7b+
  • Fire Or Retire, Badami – 7a+
  • Art of Stone, Ramnagar – 7b+
  • Nandi image, Hampi – 7b
  • Sister Stone, Hampi – 7a
  • Smiley, Ramnagar – 6c
  • Pineapple brothers, Hampi – 6c+
  • TV Boulder, Hampi – V7
  • Baba Café, Hampi – V7
  • Lemon Tree, Turuhalli – V8
  • Various V7/V8 boulders in Turuhalli, Antargange, Hampi, Badami and other areas

Mani’s Upcoming Events

Date Event


29th August 2014 IFSC Rock Masters World Cup
Arco (Italy)
8-14th September 2014 IFSC Paraclimbing World Championship Gijon (Spain)
4-5th October 2014 IFSC World Cup (Lead) London (UK)