Nitsa Tvauri, 15 years old, Tbilisi


Apart from going to school, I also follow sports and rock climbing in particular. Rock climbing means climbing an artificial wall with different climbing holds attached to it so that they provide various levels of challenge. That’s what rock climbing is, in short. We climb real rocks sometimes, but as there is not much opportunity in Tbilisi, we have to practice indoors.

My mother was the only Soviet champion woman, master of sports, who climbed real rocks instead of artificial walls. My father is also a champion of Georgia in rock climbing. My siblings follow this pursuit as well.

As for me, I’ve been engaged in rock climbing since the age of 6, yet I’ve started practicing on a regular basis only for last 4-5 years. As a child, I didn’t use to take it seriously, it was more for fun, but as I grew up, I developed a more serious attitude to it. However, there was a moment when I was going to quit – firstly, it requires great endeavour, and secondly, it causes psychological distress when they vow to send you abroad to take part in various tournaments which you’re getting prepared psychologically and physically for, practising a lot feeling responsible, and then it comes out you’re not going anywhere because there’s a lack of funding.

I was 8 when I first became a champion of Georgia in my age group. Since then, I’ve never given up the first spot. And Among adults, I first won at the age of 11 – in short, I haven’t missed a single competition held since then.

When I was 10, I went to Austria for “Europe festival”, which representatives of more than 200 countries have participated. They awarded all participants, and I took 23rd place among them.

When people around me find what sport I’m engaged in they usually react “Isn’t it for boys?!”. Perhaps, they are aware that there is such a thing as rock climbing, but they don’t know girls can do it as well. When my classmates found I was going to Austria, they went protesting about me (a girl!) going there while, they said, there are plenty of boys around. I tried to explain it doesn’t matter whether you are boy or girl, all that matters is to love the things you do. However, they considered rock climbing just “for boys only” as it requires more strength. I wonder, why they think girls can’t be strong enough?!

In fact, I’m fond of many types of sports. I play football, basketball and rugby as well. A few days ago I went to do archery and enjoyed it a lot. As a child, after having seen Brave, I’ve always dreamed of doing some archery and so my dream came true. I want to experience every sport on an amateurish level. I intend to start playing tennis soon too.

The school

As I returned from Austria, my classmates welcomed me with balloons and a wrapped gift which of course I got excited about although I hadn’t unwrapped it until coming home. In the evening, having opened it, I discovered it was full of papers smeared with poops. I was so upset that cried a lot and didn’t want to go back to school. I don’t know, perhaps they were envious.

As for studies, there are subjects I don’t fancy, but those I like and want, I learn. For example, I refuse to learn math and Russian; math because I had a disagreement with the teacher and Russian I don’t like because they speak it in the country that occupied Georgia. I often play truant and attend only the classes I like and which are essential for tourism studies.

There are various problems at school. Crucial of them, I think are ones with poor sanitary conditions. I wish our school canteen and bathrooms were clean. I suppose all schools have the same problem. Apart from that, I want teachers not to burden us with their problems.

In the future, I intend to attend Tbilisi State University department of tourism. Meanwhile, I’m not going to quit rock climbing since I love it so much. Even if not on a professional level, I’m going to continue climbing as an amateur. Climbing for me is the greatest pleasure. Once I step on the wall, I find myself in a completely different world. I hear nothing around when I’m there, in my very own world, where I love being so much. I’m not an introvert at all – on the contrary, I’m very sociable and cheerful, but that world is unlike anything else.

Author: Nino Gamisonia
Photo credit: Nino Baidauri