Indonesia's "spiderwoman" Aries Susanti Rahayu racing to the top of sport climbing

Aries Susanti Rahayu is only 24 but she's already won two Asian Games titles, made Forbes Asia's '30 under 30' list and has her sights set on Tokyo 2020. 

Aries Susanti Rahayu is a woman in a hurry.

This speed climber's fame is rising almost as fast as she scales a wall.

They call her "Spiderwoman" at home in Indonesia after a video of her went viral at the 2018 Asian Games where she won two titles.

The 24-year-old has also been named on Forbes Asia's '30 under 30' list of influential young people alongside leading lights like tennis World No.1 Naomi Osaka, 17-year-old South Korean football prodigy Kang-In Lee who signed for Valencia with an €80m buyout clause, and K-Pop band BLACKPINK who's single 'Kill This Love' M/V has had more than 282 million views on YouTube.

Now Aries is setting her sights on Tokyo 2020 where sport climbing will be included at an Olympic Games for the first time ever.

Indonesia's 264+ million people will be right behind her.

Coming up quick

As a child Susanti Rahayu's favourite game was climbing trees.

Every tree wasn't just a tree around her home in the Grobogan regency on the island of Java, it was a new adventure.

She feels that same wonder and adrenaline rush with every wall she climbs.

"The wall in sport climbing is high," she told Kyodo News' Ayano Shimizu in September 2018, "so it's exhilarating, like an adventure."

Despite climbing up the wall against a direct opponent, this rising star says that she's always racing herself.

"It's like I'm competing against myself, how to beat my own record."

A school teacher introduced the sport to her in 2007 while she was still a junior high school student, and she's never looked down.

A first world cup podium came in 2017 when she secured second in speed in Xiamen,China, a confidence-building milestone, the Indonesian was on the podium again at the 2017 Asian championships, taking third in Tehran.

But 2018 was the climber's real breakout year, topping the podium for the first time at the climbing world cup in Chongqing, following that victory up with two more in Wujiang and Xiamen, all in China.

Then the Asian Games at home in Jakarta-Palembang really ignited her career.

A gold medal in speed and another in speed relay with a viral video of her climbing meant that her name was on everyone's lips in the world's 4th most populous country.

In May 2019 she was the only Indonesian athlete to make the Forbes Asia '30 under 30' list.

This was her her reaction:

"I’m so happy I was selected. It was a surprise since there are many youngsters with a lot of achievements out there. Thank you to everyone" - Aries in a statement after she was listed as one of Forbes Asia's most influential young people under 30

Tokyo 2020

At Tokyo 2020, the three disciplines of sport climbing will be competed in a triathlon format.

These events are: Speed climbing, bouldering and lead climbing.

Speed climbing is a duel between two climbers on a 15-metre-high wall, sloped at a gravity-defying 95-degree angle. Whoever reaches the top first is the winner.

Bouldering is set on a four-metre-high wall, climbers have four minutes to climb as many set routes up the wall as they can, scoring points based on route difficulty.

Lead climbing gives competitors six minutes to climb as far up a 15-metre wall as they can, with only one chance to climb.

Speed climbing is Aries' strongest discipline right now and she is working hard on lead and bouldering.

If Susanti Rahayu makes it to Tokyo then she will compete with the likes of world champ Janja Garnbret and Japanese climbing celebrity Akiyo Noguchi.

20 of the best climbers on the planet will vie to become very first ever Olympic sport climbing champions.

The Javanese star is currently focusing 100% on Tokyo 2020 qualifying tournaments.

She has a mountain to climb, but an entire country behind her.

Look out for live sport climbing events on


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