Dmitrii Timofeev is a Russian climber who specialises in speed climbing.
In this exclusive, we talk about his climbing discipline of choice and his career.
Zushan Hashmi: Tell me a little bit about your life outside of climbing and sports in general?
Dmitrii Timofeev: My dad was a young sprinter in 100 meters and I got my sprinting qualities from him, albeit on the climbing wall.
From my childhood, I was easily given everything regarding running, jumping, and indeed with sports. Therefore, it can be said that sport is my life.
But recently, I have become a dad, so now sport does not take up all my time. My daughter, Julia and I, spend a lot of time together.
How did you get involved in climbing?
At the age of 12, I was in a children’s camp and we were taken on an excursion to a climbing wall and I thought, I liked this sport.
And from September 1, 2005, to this day, I have been doing my favourite thing – climbing.
Tell me about your training regime?
4-5 training days per week, 2-times per day, each for 3-4 hours, with climbing and gym.
What are some of the highlights of your climbing career?
I think the moment when I first got to the World Climbing Championships turned out to be incredible.
It was in 2012, in Paris. I was young and not very experienced, but incredibly determined, and when I saw this arena with thousands of people, I was left speechless.
Do you climb traditional routes much?
Unfortunately, no, because the professional activity takes all my time in climbing.
Tell me a little bit about the sport in Russia?
Well, climbing is far from the most popular sport in the country, but this is changing more and more every year.
In Russia, they love all the disciplines, equally, but our speed climbing team is by far the strongest.
At the moment, we have the largest team in terms of the number of athletes climbing at 5:50, and 7:30+ in the women.
Why are Russians generally so successful in speed climbing?
We have a very strong school of high-speed climbing, rich experience, and many top-level athletes, it is easier to rush along with this young generation.
Do you think this success translates into bouldering and lead? Why/why not?
I think that most climbers in Russia do not perceive other climbing disciplines to be the same.
For them, speed is a separate sport.
Lead and bouldering have their stars, but they need to raise the level of climbing in our country.
Is it easy to make a living off of climbing in Russia?
Without serious international results, this is almost impossible. You can only do it as a trainer in the private sector.
How important and integral are sponsorships for climbers?
Sponsors are important, but, unfortunately, climbing in Russia is not very popular, that’s why large sponsors do not look at us.
I still do not have a single sponsor, although I am regularly performing well at international competitions.
Do you feel the sport has grown a lot in Russia, or it has grown more, outside of the country?
In Russia, a lot of work is underway to popularize the sport. Getting into the Olympic Games has been a huge step towards the development of the game, and it will definitely enable it to grow further.
Who are some of your favourite climbers and favourite climbers you have competed against?
I endlessly respect Bassa Mawem from France. He does incredible things.
We climb with him regularly and I am always happy, even if I lose to him.
What are your thoughts on the Olympic format?
For me, the Olympics will be Paris 2024, not right now.
Do you think speed climbers are disadvantaged, or does it develop them to be more well-rounded? Why/Why not?
Speed is speed. It has very little to do with other climbing disciplines. Therefore, it makes no sense to compare.
How are you managing your time amid the current pandemic and lockdowns?
I’m resting. For the first time in several active sports seasons, I have been able to rest normally away from sports.
It so happened that I had a daughter. I spend all my time with my family.
What would you say to youngsters who are looking to become pro-climbers?
Do what you love, love what you do. And all will be well.