Jamshedpur, Oct. 13: At nine-years, Ridam Chettri is your average school kid. He refuses his glass of milk, finds spending time on a football field more worthwhile than with his books and is dreamy eyed.
But, put the boy in front of a rock, fix some anchors in it, give him some rope and then sit back and watch. He would probably end up climbing it before you can say go.
Darjeeling's Ridam has managed turn the spotlight on himself during the ongoing 18th East Zone Sport Climbing Competition at the JRD Tata Sports Complex.
The youngest competitor in the three-day zonal meet, Ridam has not only struck awe among fellow contestants with his climbing prowess, but had also floored the organisers with his quick reflexes, accurate negotiation of anchors and swift movements on the artificial wall.
The Telegraph caught up with the Class III Army School, Darjeeling, student today as he waited for his turn to get on the wall in the sub-junior category. He was more than willing to profess his love for sport climbing.
"I love sport climbing. I am a regular and keep trying it out in my hometown," a beaming Ridam said, adding that he first tried his hand at the sport when he was four.
His trainer Sonam Lepcha said the boy was the reigning zonal champion in the sub-junior category and was set to go places with his talent.
"He is not scared. Heights never scare him, they push him to perform better. For others, a 9-year-old climbing a 50-ft wall with ease must sound impossible," Lepcha said.
But Ridham is different, she said. "He is brave and watchful."