Horak comments eating disorder


Thursday, 7 October

A personal reflection on the Stasa Gejo 8a articles by Reino ”Nicki” Horak, Sportdirector Norweigian Climbing Federation. Prior to this he was Team manager for Sweden since 2010. In the picture together with Stasa’s father, Slobodan.

I have all the respect for Stasa and I am grateful that she goes out and talks about her own experience and thoughts on the issue, eating disorders and weight loss. She is not the first and certainly not the last to vent her experiences and fears on this subject.

This issue regularly comes up in the media, social media and as a general topic of discussion. What has not changed is that nothing drastic and consistent has been done to counteract the problem.

Over the years, I and many others with me have tried to meet this problem in climbing. Since my time as Swedish national team captain and later in the Norwegian federation, I have introduced measures that can help detect and try to prevent eating disorders within the sport. Several other unions have done the same. Unfortunately, no action will be effective until measures are taken on central global level. We can read in strategy plans and statutes that work must be done to ensure that climbing is and is experienced as a healthy sport. Through proposals in recent years, I have tried to bring about a sharpening that directly points to and actively tries to solve the problem of eating disorders within the sport, which is the sports major health problem. Unfortumately without greater success.

Top-level elite sport is seldom healthy given the extreme amount of training and the strain our top athletes have to endure in order to reach the ultimate world elite. On the other hand, we have the possibility and are able to prevent what Stasa describes and reflects on in her article. Before we do that, climbing can never be seen as a healthy sport. On the contrary, the sport will be seen as a health risk for athletes in their ambition and what many consider necessary to do to reach the top. Therefore, let the Medical Committee within the IFSC make recommendations and measures. Be sure to implement these measures for all international competitions. Not until that is done we will hopefully see a end of this ever-recurring subject. I do not hope that a case of tragic event is needed to open our eyes. Lets instead be smart, preventive and actively prevent behaviors that pose extreme health risks to our elite climbers.”

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