In 2019, Aries Susanti Rahayu became the first woman in the history of the sport to scale a speed climbing wall in under 7 seconds. The Indonesian athlete reserved her place on Forbes Asia's 30 under 30 list in the same year.
Who is Aries Susanti Rahayu?
She is a 25-year-old girl who wears a headscarf. Who loves sports especially the one dominated by men: climbing. She is shy but also loves to talk and meet new people.
She's our very own "spider woman": Aries Susanti Rahayu
Susanti is currently the world's number three-speed climber, and a record holder of fastest climb in 6.99 seconds thereby surpassing the previous world record of 7.10 seconds.
She achieved this feat at a Climbing World Cup competition in Xiamen, China, 2019.
In an interview with Olympic Channel, Susanti said, "Ever since I was young, I liked to climb trees. And I used to climb a lot of trees as a kid. When I heard about sport climbing I was very excited because it took the activity that I liked to an even higher level. That’s why I chose to get into sport climbing."
"If we want it badly, we can do it"- Aries Susanti Rahayu
When asked about the day she broke the world record, Susanti told how she had injured two fingers before the event. "I wanted to prove to myself that this pain does not affect me when I compete. So my mindset going into the race was not to focus on the pain but to focus on the race ahead of me. All those thoughts were running through my head. And it just goes to show that if we want it badly, we can do it," she said.
The Pride of Indonesia
Hailing from the city of Yogyakarta, Indonesia, Susanti feels that since people from her region have a smaller physique than others, this push them to work hard and prove to the world that the smaller physique can also be a force to reckon with.
There's a film called 6.9 second made on the life of the "spider woman". The film shows the journey of Susanti from childhood to the record-breaking moment. Susanti parents left her to work overseas when she was a child. During her childhood, she felt the void of love in her life, but today, she has no regrets. She says, "With the help of God, I became a speed climbing athlete and found my own path in life. Looking back, I'm very grateful for how my life journey has been to-date."
Image credit: ABC News
The young girl is clearly breaking taboos. She is setting the right precedent for Indonesian women and women around the world to follow. Susanti is also among the few Muslim women who have embedded their name in international sports. She is a climbing star and an inspiration for millions of girls with sporting dreams.
About the Author
Prakriti S is a foodie, wildlife photographer, geo-politics enthusiast, and a woman activist.
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