Climber's profile: Meritas Babilas

Nine year old Meritas is the youngest and one of the most conscious climbers in Miegantys Drambliai climbing team. He trains three-four times a week, always preparing for competitions. Also, Meritas always shows a helpful attitude towards his teammates, giving honest pieces of advice to all his friends who fail to complete a climbing routes. Meritas is keen on bouldering and you can see his eyes sparkling as soon as his hands touch the climbing holds.

His father, Dainius Babilas, is always supporting him from the otherside of the matrice, so we also asked him how Meritas grew in the last four years.

When did the climbing start:

Meritas: I have been climbing for over four years already - that means half of my life. My parents found MD gym and took me there because they were interested in this branch of sport. I liked it too, as it is a sport not very trendy. I was fascinated by the variety of the routes and I found good friends among other climbers. Also, my trainer is well qualified. Giedrius takes everything serious, but at the same time he pays attention to everyone.

Dainius: Physical education classes at school are not sufficient. Also, here Meritas can acquire important knowledge, learn about healthy lifestyle and look up to his friends and trainers. Another significant factor is that the gym is similar to a small community and it feels great to be a part of it.



Meritas: I enjoy team training because it always leads to discussions of the routes and sharing of experience and advice which is highly beneficial. We also joke around and have fun. Our training sessions give us joy. Yet, I can also climb alone as I have no peers of the same age in my team.

I enjoy spending my time in the training gym; however I can't' complete all the routes due to the large distances between the climbing holds. I wished the gym had a larger variety of routes with lesser distances between grips. Such routes could be of a harder setting, yet, still beatable.

Dainius: The current motivation of Meritas is as strong as ever. It was a rather difficult time a few years back when Meritas started taking part in competitions. Back then, he was a lot lower in height than his peers and could not win higher positions. We talked to him about the importance of individual goals instead of the awards and calculated the number of climbing holds he used each time. Another difficult experience was the transition from the game-like training to professional sports training. Nowadays, it is much more than the competition itself that motivates Meritas. He is drawn in by the training process and trying out new routes. This is the best motivation ever.


Best moments:

Meritas: The moment that had gripped my mind the most was when I was awarded the first place in the Lithuanian Junior Championship held in Klaipėda in 2013. The first stage of the Lithuanian Junior Bouldering Cup competition of 2014 was also memorable as I managed to complete all six routes on my first try and took the third place. I also remember the first time I did six pull-ups on a large hold. I can do six pull-ups!

Dainius: I believe that Meritas is gaining more confidence by bouldering. All humans, not only the children, tend to compete with each other. Sometimes, the sole knowledge that you can overtake any classmate by doing pull-ups can mean a lot.


2014 plans:

Meritas: My goal this year is to finish third in the final stage of the Lithuanian Junior Bouldering Cup and to make my way higher next year.

Dainius: I am not saying that he could be better because to me he has always been the best. After a failure, I never tell him that everything is alright. I do not tend to measure his results by the awards won. Seeing his endeavors and the strong desire to achieve higher results is the most important to me. Therefore, I always say, “You’ve put a lot into it this time and have done your best!”

We do not have any professional bouldering-related goals for Meritas. The most important for us is that Meritas develops a passion for sports and active and healthy lifestyle.


Meritas: My parents are always very supportive of me and keep encouraging me, saying that I still have lots of room for improvement. They are happy with my results, although sometimes I think I could have done better. My team backs me up as well. At times, I feel self-conscious because I am the youngest here.

Dainius: I cannot miss any of the competitions because they hold a lot of significance to me. I went almost to all of the 24 competitions in which Meritas had taken part till now. I could not be elsewhere in good conscience.

Outdoor plus: Since 2007, we have been traveling to the mountains together every year. Meritas has already hiked to the tops of some mountains that any adult would have been proud to have visited: Kitzsteinhorn (3203 m) and Boses Weibl (3119 m) in Austria, Rysy (2503 m) and Dumbier (2043 m) in Slovakia, Mount Olympus (1952 m) in Cyprus, Giewont (1895 m) in Poland, Dinara (1831 m) in Croatia, Snezka (1603 m) in Czech Republic.


Dainius: I was the proudest dad when Meritas nagged me for being late in taking him to the training or delaying the payment for the competition. I'm proud because of his responsible approach.



 Photos: from family archive