Passion is a word thrown around lightly these days; it often gets associated to temporary highs that others believe can define their lives. I have met only a chosen few who found purpose in passion and have truly transcended in their chosen path.
I recently met with Mr. Iman Mora who is part of the Philippine National Climbing Team and the group of people behind the CDO climbing community. For the last 10 years, Iman transitioned from playing ultimate Frisbee to this spectral figure who has dominated the climb scene in the country. It was indeed a great surprise to meet a world class athlete who calls Cagayan de Oro city his home.
Donning apparels sponsored by 8a performance with our country’s flag, I got to chit chat with Iman and I can truly see that he is passionate not only to the sport but also teaching it to those who want to try it. Well mannered and very patient, I believe that he can be a catalyst that can develop future talents that will raise the banner of the Philippines in international climbing competitions.
In 2012 he met a climbing partner in Eugene “Repa Pips” Etabis. They trained not only indoors but also tried different approaches in the outdoors. The training was indeed advantageous for him as he developed an even deeper sense of focus in solving the challenges of each pitch. Unlike an indoor gym where climbers can see already where to place their bodies, it is quite the opposite in the outdoors as you have to figure out and assess where and how is the best way to climb. Iman never imagined that he would be an athlete.
Growing up, he would just like to go home and play video games (which he still does). He has tried other sports such as badminton and volleyball, but climbing is stuck to his core. Iman now is on an 11 day trip to Hong Kong for another international climbing competition.
Climbing may not be as well known as other sports, but it changes the mind, body, and the heart. Sure, you can get those changes in other sports but there are some things in climbing that you can’t take away. The wall or the pitch is only a small part of the problem; it is basically you versus you up there. Nobody is up there but you. The pitch is a lonely place, only those with the heart to sacrifice in disciplining the body and controlling the mind may very well reach the top. I truly respect the people or the climbing community for their reasons why they climb. These people climb as it is their outlet to relieve stress, to become physically fit, or to just enjoy the flow of the pitch.
It goes without saying that we often overlook athletes and their stories. The blood, sweat and tears to reach a certain level of performance are part of the preparation in any sport. And I personally believe that the future is looking bright for our country’s climbing community. With climbers like Iman Mora, the passion is contagious and passed on to those who are willing to try.