“If you are passionate about something, you must not let other people’s opinions affect your dream.”
“What will you get in return?”
This is a question commonly asked to Yin Pisey, a female rock climbing national athlete in Cambodia.
As a woman, student and a national sports athlete, Pisey has faced challenges and learned many life lessons since she became involved in rock climbing, a sport new to Cambodia.
Pisey has had experience in the rock climbing sport for over three years, picking up the sport as a hobby when she started working at an indoor rock climbing gym called Phnom Climb.
With support from her seniors and personal passion for rock climbing, Pisey decided to attend a national competition in 2017. Through hard work and effort, she won a bronze medal for the first time, giving her an opportunity to compete at the IFSC Climbing Asian Championships
Pisey has ambitions and dreams to continue competing in international level competition and to win a medal for the country, as well as to become a role model for the younger generation who may be interested in rock climbing.
What is your motivation for becoming a professional female rock climber?
I have always liked sports. I have loved Karate since I was young, but I did not have enough time to learn it.
At first, I figured that rock climbing did not require much time and would give me flexibility in my schedule. After I started, I realized that it is my passion.
This sport has provided me with the chance to receive training and compete overseas in the Asian Championships twice, in 2018 and 2019.
I want to see the growth of rock climbing in Cambodia, which is also a sport. I especially want to encourage the younger generation to train hard and have the opportunity to attend an international competition and win a medal for Cambodia.
What have your experiences been in the sports field?
Sports have helped me mitigate stress from work and school. Also, I have physically become stronger and more flexible. It gave me the opportunity to receive training abroad with people who share a common interest. We share experiences and knowledge about sports, as well as build good relationships between one another.
I can show everyone that both genders have equal rights and an opportunity to work and play sports. There is no gender bias in sports. I think if we are passionate about something, we should not let other people’s judgement affect our dreams.
What challenges affect the sport of rock climbing?
I think every sport has its own challenges. However, the main challenge of this sport is the lack of resources, as it is a new sport in Cambodia. Also, there are not enough qualified coaches to support us and insufficient sponsors to allow us to compete at local and international competitions.
Being a self-sustained student, I do not have adequate time to train as I have only two hours per day. However, I have made a commitment to train five days a week no matter how occupied I am with school or work.
What negative and positive comments have you received from the community?
I have received both praise and negative feedback for being a woman in rock climbing. My friends and family are supportive and always encourage me to train, especially during competition season.
However, some people like to make fun of my physique and say that no man will want to ask for my hand as I have big muscles. It sounds like they might not think that rock climbing is for females, but I will never let other people’s comments affect my passion. I love this sport and I will continue training harder in order to win a championship for myself and my country.
Do you have any advice for people who are interested in rock climbing?
I definitely encourage people who have an interest in rock climbing to try it, as not only does it strengthen your physical health and flexibility, but also it can help people with mental health issues to lighten their mood and reduce stress.
Based on my experience, rock climbing can improve your concentration levels. Plus, the sport does not require any preparation, but you should be physically and emotionally ready, believing in yourself and trying your best.