Mina Markovic, the Arco Rock Master interview
Interview with Slovenian athlete Mina Markovic who won her first Arco Rock Master title on 8 September 2013
Winning the Rock Master at Arco doesn't happen every day. On the contrary, it's the apex for many athletes. A fortnight ago Mina Markovič succeeded in winning her first Rock Master title. But for the 26-year-old Slovenian that weekend in September proved magical for another reason, too: the international Arco Rock Legends jury selected her for the prestigious La Sportiva Competition Award. A prize which recognises both her competition results and also her love and dedication to climbing.
Mina, tell us about your previous Rock Masters?
I have competed at Rock Master 4 times already, excluding the 2010 pre-event in Arco and the 2011 World Championship. The only year I skipped was 2012 because of a fractured thumb. My results have improved every year: in 2007 I placed fourth, in 2008 third, in 2009 second.
And now you won! On the after-work redpoint route you fell just below the top. What can you tell us about the route?
Yes, in fact I fell just before the top on both routes, the Semifinal on-sight and the Final after work. Both routes were nice to climb, with some technical or more intense sections followed by better holds and the chance to rest or just calm down a bit before continuing. Personally I really like Arco and its style – long, overhanging, up an interesting wall, with very endurance-based route setting. The routes are a little different from the World Cups, they're longer and really require excellent physical and endurance training. For me personally this makes them an even bigger challenge.
In particular in the past I was 'known' as a more powerful climber that maybe lacked this sort of stamina. But I think that in the past two years I've made a big step forward in this direction ;-)
Tell us about the Arco experience?
Arco means something special to me. In my eyes it's kind of 'magic', the home town of climbing, of competition climbing and a small town with very big tradition... And this is where Rock Master came to life, in exactly the same year as I was born: 1987 :-)
This year was extra special as you also received a nomination for the Arco Rock Legends Award. Did this surprise you? And tell us about how you felt when you won it?
I admit that I was already hugely satisfied when I was informed about being one of the 3 nominees for La Sportiva Competition award. About receiving the award? Again, it was a really pleasant surprise! I certainly don't want to underestimate my results and say that they are nothing special but the other two athletes, Angela Eiter and Jakob Schubert, also had really impressive results and they both won the World Championships in Paris last year (I didn't take part and I still haven't won this title)... To receive this award means a lot to me, it's hard to tell you exactly how much! From my point of view it's important international confirmation for my competition results and everything I've done until now. I know that I always try my best, with passion, but to receive external confirmation like this is always very welcome and important.
You have a very busy schedule...but you always come to Arco nevertheless
Yes, my schedule is very intensive this year. Since the Lead competitions began on 13th of July in Chamonix I have only had 2 weekends free (European Championship Lead in Chamonix, World Cup in Briançon, World Games in Cali, World Cup in Imst, World Cup in Munich, European Championship Boulder in Eindhoeven), and there are more competitions lined up now! But climbing, competing, training and traveling are my life, something that I have chosen and would definitely choose again! As to Arco, whether to come here is never a question. This Master is a big challenge, coming here always fills me with energy, motivation and nice memories!
Tell us about your strong and weak points.
My strong points are definitely my good physical preparation, my power and endurance. My technique is maybe not the most brilliant, but I am trying to work on this quite a lot, and I think that from one year to the next it's improving. But there are still plenty of other areas where I can still improve. And this is the beauty of climbing, that you can always progress, do something better and take your climbing to the next level...
You talked about physical preparation...
Of course, mental preparation and psychological approach to climbing are areas where I believe I can make big improvements. In particular at the start of a competition, I need to stay calm and focused so as to climb the route more accurately.
Are there any climbers that have inspired you?
I am always inspired by people who have something special and do things with passion and heart. During this Rock Master Ramon Julian Puiblanque made a huge impression. What he demonstrated was unbelievable! The result of his total commitment to climbing and training. Other climbers: Adam Ondra inspires me with all his hard routes, projects and also his onsight attempts. Sasha DiGulian is another climber who has left a big impression this year too; she's climbed numerous of hard routes, done some first ascents, explored some hard multi-pitches and so on... These climbers are all different but definitely outstanding athletes with one thing in common – commitment and a love for climbing!
Mina Markovič, Final Lead, Rock Master di Arco / video Planetmountain.com
La Sportiva Competition Award / video Planetmountain.com