Anak Verhoeven Interview
- World Cup Winner and Climber for Jesus
Anak Verhoeven of Belgium has become one of the best rope climbers in the world. This year she won two World Cup Lead Competitions and finished second in the world overall for the season. After finishing school this year, she felt led to become a professional climber and SRCFC has had the privilege of being a sponsor. She graciously answered a few questions for us.
What was the best moment in your 2016 climbing season in competition? In climbing outside?
My first world cup victory in Arco, Italy in August! (I thank God for that!) I won the gold medal by topping all four competition routes, which almost never happens. Moreover, everyone was sincerely glad for me. Everyone! (Visit her profile page at International Federation of Sport Climbing to see all here competition results)
In rock climbing, I had a great experience in climbing Broadway 8c+/9a (5.14c/d) in Siurana, Spain under difficult circumstances. It happened in November on a cold day with an extremely hard north wind and with my rock trip coming to an end. Even though I was exhausted because it was my third climbing day and I did not feel like doing it at all, it somehow felt right to return to the crag. I put on as many layers as possible, warmed up despite the cold and went for an attempt.
To my surprise I climbed really well, passing all the hard sections and arriving at the top part with only a few tricky moves left. I was still feeling fresh and confident while climbing when suddenly a hold broke out. There I was, hanging on the rope. No!
What happened next was a mental battle: I cleaned the broken rock, figured the move out, was lowered down, took some time to recover from the disappointment. Then, I gave it another last attempt - it would be the very last one no matter what. I moved on and moved on, praying and repeating what Yahweh had told Joshua, feeling my body being much more tired than before and knowing that this was my last chance...until I clipped the chains!
Lead/rope competition climbing is about having great on-sight skills. Please share a few tips that can make someone a better on-sight climber.
Try to be fully concentrated on your route and don’t be distracted by the people watching you climb. For indoor climbing: always do a careful observation and memorization of the route you are going to climb: handholds, footholds, where to clip, etc. When you start to feel tired and uncomfortable: don't give up! Go on, go on and don't be scared of the unknown.
When on-sighting a route you don’t have a lot of time to think. If your body and muscles already ‘know’ a wide range of movements, you will often automatically make the right decision. You can get this body memory by having trained all those moves before. Climb as many different styles as possible and watch people climb, especially experienced climbers with a good technique.
Being known as a Christian climber, please share how that has given you more opportunities to be a witness for Jesus.
Lots of journalists have asked me questions about my faith and about what ‘Climbing for Jesus’ means. In most interviews for newspapers and television I have been able to talk about my faith. Sometimes it feels like the chat I’ve had with the interviewer before or after the actual interview is more important. I’ve also had interesting conversations with youngsters who wanted to make an assignment about me for school.
(Editor’s note—at power-quest.cc there is an excellent interview of Anak)
Your father (Wim) coaches you, your mother (Patti) travels with you to the comps and as a family, you consider your climbing as a ministry. How could SRCFC members pray for you & your family?
Speaking out for Jesus so openly makes us vulnerable to spiritual attacks. This is not only true before and during competitions, but in fact all the year round. There is a lot of resistance against the truth. Please pray for protection and discernment.
When we have the opportunity to speak about Jesus, please pray that "whenever we speak, words may be given us so that we will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel." (Ephesians 6:19)
I am a 'professional' climber, but this only means that I spend all my time training and preparing for competitions. I lack the professional support which many professional athletes usually get. I specifically need a physiotherapist, better training facilities and more financial support. Thanks for your prayers.
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