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Rock climbing adapts to growing popularity in advance of Tokyo Olympics
With rock climbing set to make its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020 participation in rock climbing disciplines in Australia.
As reported by the ABC, the recent national titles, held in Western Sydney, featured twice the number of competitors on the previous year, feflecting recognition that rock climbing is moving from an activity to an elite sport.
One of Australia's best young talents is 16-year-old Ned Middlehurst who told the ABC "ever since I found out about Tokyo 2020, all my training is sort of leading up to it, even though it's in a couple of years. So it's always in the back of my mind."
National head coach Will Hammersla said there had been incredible growth in the sport, commenting "we'll be pushing our athletes harder and harder and I think the quest for the Olympic gold will be something that's on people's minds."
The need for high-performance coaching and resources is also front of mind, with Hammersla explaining "I've been thinking about all the things I want climbing to become, and all the support I want to give our athletes."
The Olympic inclusion has forced Sport Climbing Australia to modify its program to replicate the competition format that will feature in the 2020 games.
Hammersla added "they do bouldering, lead climbing and speed climbing, and the disciplines can be rather different."
The three variations of climbing encompass a physical challenge, a technical challenge, and raw speed. Athletes will need to be good at all three to have a chance of a podium finish.
Image used for illustrative purposes only.
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