During the weekdays, Hamad Shawqi Sajwani is a foreign-exchange trader at Standard Chartered Bank. But on the weekends, this 26-year-old Emirati from Dubai is a rock climber who has developed more than 10 climbing routes in Dibba, Oman, in the past two years. Tomorrow, he seeks to climb at least 250 metres in Al Buraimi, Oman, for his bank's global campaign "Seeing is Believing", which aims to raise US$100 million (Dh367.3m) by 2020 for the blind.
How does a day in your life look?
I get to the office around 8.30am and spend the next two hours analysing foreign exchange markets. There's a lot of excitement, and I tend to have lunch at [my] desk almost every day. I easily spend 11 hours at my desk. This is a job that requires 24-hour attention.
You took up rock climbing in 2008. Why this sport?
It's a physically and mentally challenging sport. And also it takes you out to beautiful places. I did some rock-climbing in Spain, Thailand, South Africa, France, Turkey and the US, and those were some of the happiest moments of my life. As a child, I was always a big fan of the mountains. My father often used to take us kids to picnic in the wadis of Hatta. I like playing football, too, but you have to play with a team. I like my independence and be judged for who I am. Hanging 30 metres above the ground at times, rock climbing is like playing psychological games. I love competing against myself.
How often do you go out rock-climbing?
I go out with other climbers every Saturday. I have been going to Dibba for climbing almost every Saturday this last year. Dibba offers a variety of climbing, such as sport climbing and bouldering among others. I have helped develop more than 10 climbing routes in the area.
Why did you choose to support Standard Chartered Bank's "Seeing is Believing" fundraiser?
I really believe in physical fitness to add value to anything. I decided to climb for the cause, and the bank encouraged me to do so. The climb [tomorrow] has already attracted donations to the fund, and Standard Chartered will match every dollar raised. So far, I have raised $8,000. In underdeveloped countries, they need really simple things to make ends meet. If [the blind] can see, they can add value to life.
Who will be there with you?
I have a volunteer from the bank who will testify to the fact that I have indeed climbed so many metres. I will have three climbing friends, who will hold the rope for me. I will be there by 8.30am and start climbing by 9am. I have to pace myself, though, because I will be climbing under 45°C for the full day, under the sun.
* Sananda Sahoo
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