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Climbing towards Olympic glory

28 September 2015

TOKYO 2020: Interest in Sport Climbing is set to rise to unparalleled levels in Australia after the sport edged closer to making its Olympic debut in 2020.

The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee selected the sport as one of six new events that are proposed to make their Olympic debut in just under five years’ time.

Sport Climbing, along with baseball/softball, surfing, karate and skateboarding, will be presented to the IOC who will make a final decision at the 129th IOC Session in Rio in August 2016.  

Participation levels in Sport Climbing in Australia have been increasing rapidly in recent years with competitive athletes tripling since 2008.

“This is incredibly exciting news for Sport Climbing,” said Sport Climbing Australia President Rob LeBreton of the announcement.  

“The Sport Climbing community around the world has been working hard towards achieving this goal so, as you can imagine, it will be welcomed in many countries.”

Approximately 300,000 Aussies participate in climbing in a climbing gym and if the sport was to be included in the Tokyo 2020 Games these numbers would be certain to soar even higher.

“The Olympic Games offers Sport Climbing a great opportunity to share our sport with those outside our community and to inspire the next generation of climbers.

“One thing is certain, people are going to really like what they see in Tokyo.”

The likes of Australian Open and Junior Lead Champion Campbell Harrison and five-time World Youth Championship competitor Roxy Perry would be in their climbing prime when the 2020 Games come around.

“It would be a dream to be able to compete at an Olympic Games,” said Harrison.

“When I first started I never thought it could become an Olympic sport but after going overseas and seeing just how big it is I definitely realised the sport has what it takes.

“It would definitely be a target of mine to train hard and eventually represent Australia at the Tokyo 2020 Games.”

The 18-year-old from Victoria has competed at three Junior World Championships and will be hoping to step up to more senior international competitions in 2016.

“I’ve competed at one senior World Cup event before but next year I will be targeting a lot more.

“There are quite a few midway through 2016 before the World Championships in Paris which I am hoping to qualify for.”

Harrison and many other Aussie stars of the sport will be in action at the Australian Boulder Climbing Championships in Victoria in the coming weeks.

The event will take place from 9-11 October in Ballarat and will be sure to have plenty of prospective Olympians in action. Find out more here>>>

Matt Bartolo

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