The IFSC climbing world cup first intrigued me when I saw a post shared by a friend, about a crowdfunding campaign for it. I stopped scrolling through random posts, and had to read it again. Wait, was that a WORLD CUP that’s saying it didn’t have the money and was crowd funding? That sounded more like a scam. So i checked with a couple of sources and it turned out to be true. India was hosting the Climbing world cup for the first time and we didn’t have enough sponsors to cover the cost. So I decided to pitch in my hard earned 2,000 rupees, and that was that. Shooting the event hadn’t even struck me.

A month later, I saw they hadn’t hit their targets, but were still going ahead, because of multiple sponsors coming in last minute. So it was definitely happening. And they were looking for volunteers, and I decided to pitch my bit in to shoot. Unfortunately, to shoot the world cup, one needed to be accredited by some international body, and the indian body for climbing, and this was with 1 week left for the tournament. I knew these legalities were out of my scope and left it.

Cue in 1 day before the event was to begin, and Sharad (One of India’s top climbing photographers ) called me and asked if I’d like to shoot. To which I explained the official problems, and he said he would take care of it. A few hours later, I was in my flight to Mumbai, to shoot the first ever IFSC Climbing world cup organised in India. One of those moments, where it can happen only in India.
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I arrived the morning of the setup, and got to meet a lot of new faces, and met my new team members. That’s when I was informed, that I was going to shoot the entire event, ALONE. There were enough photographers, but just 1 to do video. A couple of photographers were there to assist me with video and you can call me mean, but I don’t think I could use their footage.

So I spent 2 whole days covering the event, close ups, taking interviews, time lapses, hyper lapses, talking to the people setting up the wall, and in the middle of all that, I eventually got bored with just video, and popped in some lovely photos as well.
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The venue itself got a huge footfall of 1,500 people. The local crowd even had some favourites, and could be seen chanting and cheering them on .

I even got to meet acclaimed sports photographer Eddie Fowke and spent some time with him, discussing how to take sports photography and filmmaking ahead. I loved one specific line of his, where he said, he’s making less than a Mc’Donalds employee in his country, but then, he gets to travel the world.

From the technical aspects, shooting itself was a challenge. I had to do the work of 3 people, video, audio, and assistant. I had to shoot wide, steadicam, closeups, time lapses, hyper lapses, crowd reactions, interviews, dump footage and amidst all that, not miss the main athletes attempts and some Indian favourites.
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Post the world cup, the Girivihar cup was held, at the same venue, which was an open tournament for Indian athletes as well as those broad. This gave me an opportunity to interact a little closer with the Indian athletes as well.

Shot by Neil D’souza
Edited by Hyatt Noorul
Music by MTV Sound Trippin ft. Joti AND Sultana Noora

Shot on Canon 5D mkIII + 35mm Sigma art + 70-200mm Canon L
Sennheiser Hotshoe mic

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