Akiyo Noguchi - Up-Climbing

Akiyo Noguchi

Interview by Elena Corriero
Photo Giulio Malfer
Akiyo Noguchi is a one of the bright stars of Asian climbing. Born in Ibaraki, not far from Osaka and from the ancient Japanese capital Kyoto, Akiyo is 20 years old and competes for her team in both lead and bouldering, but her name evokes better the grace and weightlessness with which she topped the World Cup 2009.

Akiyo, what is climbing for you?
It’s my favorite hobby, but also an important part of my life.
When did you start climbing?
At 12, nine years ago. I train for both lead and bouldering and I compete in both disciplines, even if I am better at bouldering.
How often do you train?
I train five or six days a week, three days at home, and twice in a climbing gym. I do some jogging, too.
But you’re not a professional, are you?
No, I am not. But I want to be a trainer in the future, and coach a girl to be a world champion. I will go on climbing when I leave the competitions and I will be inside the climbing business. I would like to contribute to its development, to grant support to the younger climbers and create better conditions for them to train.
Do you enjoy any support for your activity as an athlete?
Well, yes, I am supported by the Japanese Mountaineering Federation and by my sponsors.
What’s your aim for 2010?
Well, I want to win the bouldering World Cup. And the World Championship is my dream.
Can you give us some insight on Sports Climbing in Japan?
There’s been a great change on the climbing scene in the last few years. New gyms are opening every month in Tokyo central area. Climbing is getting very popular, and you can also see it often on TV. It’s hard to believe, considering that only two or three years ago climbing was such a minor sport, maybe because we had few indoor facilities and the crags are not as good as in Europe or in the States.
Do you think that competitions can accelerate the development of sport climbing in Japan?
Well, I hope that more climbers will have the opportunity to come to Japan from abroad as it happened for the bouldering World Cup in Kazo. It would be a wonderful opportunity for the Japanese to grow aware of the amazing level reached by the athletes competing internationally… and in exchange we could introduce foreigners to the wonderful Japanese culture!
Akiyo, one last thing… How do you spend your free time?
Shopping with my friends!

Elena Corriero IFSC