Should unhealty climbers be allowed to compete?


Tuesday, 2 March

One of the official goals for IFSC is to promote climbing "as a healthy and educational activity for youth." Occasionally, the organization measures the BMI of athletes and notifies the Federations if a male is below 18.5 or a female is below 17.5. Possibly, the IFSC could go even further by prohibiting athletes under a certain BMI from competing? This BMI should be low enough to put climbers' health at risk. Examples of extremely low BMIs: a 160 cm tall female weighing 43 kg = 16.8 BMI, and a 170 cm male weighing 51 kg = 17.6 BMI.

Some countries already have BMI regulations for being allowed in the national team. Reino Horak from the Norweigian Federation explains that they use different BMI levels based on age groups. They have cooperated with the Austrian Federation and their research for getting the right levels for the different age groups. All athletes also have to sign a contract including a medical examination.

"The Norway Federation continuously try to monitor our athletes and also give education and information from Sunn Idrett about this matter. They also have to make an educational web-based Antidoping test each year. These topics are related and federations should give education and implement healthy living for athletes as they develop and grow older. Doing this in combination with some IFSC regulations will prevent a lot of the problems at adult age."

It should be noted that IFSC already has a system for determining which athletes are disallowed to compete for medical injury reasons. As an example, if a climber gets a sprained ankle, a doctor can state that the athlete must be able to jump on the injured foot before continuing to compete. Furthermore, for getting a competition license, the Federations must agree that the athletes are fit to compete.

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