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Sebastian Halenke

Sebastian Halenke

Age: 24
Hometown: Lahr
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National Federation
Deutscher Alpenverein Schwäbisch Gmünd

Personal details

When you started competing in international competitions, did you see yourself being in the top-10? 
Already when I started competing in international competitions it was my dream and goal to be standing on top of the podium one day. But coming from a very successful time in the international youth competitions the first World Cup experience were like a stroke. Suddenly I was one of many and had to face a battle in a very new level: So many more really strong competitors and so much harder routes! But although I had a quiet hard start with lots of ups and downs (and sometimes lacking confidence) I decided to never give up, because no obstacle could be big enough to tease me away from the path following my dreams. 
What motivated you to compete rather than just to climb outside?  
When I started climbing I was only climbing outdoors during the first years as I always used to love those natural places, feeling linked with their beauty and peace. Going out on the rocks always used to be (and still is) an inner release for me, being able to forget about everything else and just living the present moment. But then when I got my first approach to the competitions, I realized that this was really my thing and I discovered my passion to competing. What motivates me is the challenge, giving everything what I have got to give, trying to make it to the top in front of an excited, cheering crowd. It’s a battle against your-self: Handling expectations, nervousness and fear while feeling pure excitement and motivation just to go out on the wall to rock the stage. 
Life gets an incomparable intensity in such moments! 
What are some struggles you face as an athlete? 
In my opinion a sportsmen’s life is a real privilege, being able to travel around the world, getting to know different cultures and people and experiencing adventures as least other people ever do. On the other hand it is also involved with a very strict life: Training many hours, taking care about nutrition, having only a rare time for social contacts … always the splits between the sportsmen’s life style (training, traveling, competing) and the common life style with all its tasks and obligations. Personally I find it quite difficult to combine training and traveling with school. Studying some maths formulas or trying to memorize pages of text and data can be quiet a tiring task in-between three hard sessions per day or after a journey of six hours. Although I could never imagine to change my way of living with the life style of a “common” person in my age, which usually doesn’t consist of more than studying a bit, sitting at home playing computer games and going out at weekends, meeting some friends. I love the intensity and changes in life, seeing and experiencing many different aspects. The worst for me was an empty life without contents, living bored inside the day without any direction, not knowing what to do. 
What influenced you to start competing? 
When I started climbing, originally I never thought about competing and at the beginning I didn’t even know about climbing competitions. I simply used to travel around to different rock areas, climbing many different routes and enjoying the nature. But all that changed when I met a man named Timo Preußler at the age of 12 years, who used to be one of Germany’s most successful competition climbers at all. Coming out of his own career he discovered my talent and invited me to participate in regional cup of South-West-Germany. As youngest competitor (I competed as guest starter in youth b with only 12 years) I managed to win the whole cup series and I was taken into the regional youth team… My passion for climbing competitions had begun and my life should change in a truly unexpected way! 
Who most helped you get to where you are right now? 
There are quite a few persons who helped and supported me developing as a human being and as an athlete. But the greatest support I have always got from my parents, especially my dad, who has followed my path as an athlete since the very beginning: Developing ideas and training concepts with me, driving me around every single weekend to different gyms or rocks, … and most of all always believing in me and giving me a stable emotional background.  
What advice could you give to Young Athletes? 
Always keep the dedication to what you do and never stop believing in your goals and dreams. On the path of growing (as an athlete and as a person) there will be always ups and downs and obstacles on your way, which is sometimes very hard to handle with. But in the same time these are the greatest chances of learning and becoming stronger: A weakness is a strength as it contains the potential to improve! Work hard but also enjoy life with each little gift it’s providing to you; see it in a positive view! Because in this way you will always find the power to stand up again after falling! 
What are some of your favourite hobbies?  
Hiking, Reading, Going out dancing