FLASH JUNIORS 2016 – REVIEW
Over 50 young climbers aged 7 to 16, entered The Flash Juniors Bouldering Competition at Highball Climbing Centre this weekend. And, talking to parents yesterday and listening to some great feedback (and suggestions for ‘next time’) we’re assuming it was a great success!
It was the first time a major climbing competition specifically for children has taken place in the region. As well as a strong local contingent, the competition attracted junior climbers from as far as Sheffield, Nottingham and Surrey, some of whom are part of the Junior GB Team.
“Whilst we’ve always had junior categories in our regular monthly and bi-monthly climbing competitions, parents of junior climbers who attend our climbing clubs and coaching academies have been asking for a junior specific competition. It was great to finally be able to make that happen.” – Thomas Smith, Assistant Manager
The competition was split into two parts; first qualification (Saturday), then the Grand Final (Sunday). Qualification consisted of 30 climbs (known as problems or blocs) which were spread across the centre. Then, a grand final on the DMM Competition wall, one of the biggest in the country. To qualify for the final you had to place in the top ten for your age/gender category. In total there were 4 categories: U12 Male; U12 Female; U16 Male; U16 Female (age as at 1 September 2015.
There was a great buzz in the centre during Saturday’s qualification round as the junior climbers attempted the 30 qualifier problems. Most older competitors (14+) were climbing independently whilst younger entrants were supervised by parents or, a member of Highball’s coaching team, to make sure they climbed safely.
Sundays finalists were supported and cheered on by a large crowd made up of parents, family and friends, and plenty of Highball regulars who were in for a Sunday Afternoon climb. Each finalist had four problems to attempt, each one on a different angle of wall to ensure different skills and techniques were tested. Despite the warm conditions, only one problem didn’t get climbed; great route setting!
“We’ve a great group of young climbers here at Highball, from age 4 to 17. Most have come through our fun climbing sessions or birthday parties but, once they’ve got the bug, they’ve progressed into our junior coaching program. Our coaches help develop their skills and techniques where they can progress through NICAS and NIBAS (national climbing and bouldering award schemes). Recently, some of them have started travelling to other climbing centres to take part in other competitions. To organise a bouldering competition here in Norwich was quite a risk but, that’s what we’re about. The turnout was great, especially those who made a long journey; we’ll definitely be doing it again. Our thanks to everyone who came and made it a great weekend!” – Mike Surtees, Director
THE WINNERS OF THE JUNIOR FLASH 2016!
Male – Under 12
Tyler Preston (1st), Stanley Reed (2nd), Finn Duncan (3rd), Oscar Preston (4th), Sam Pestell (5th)
Female – Under 12
Lydia Benjamin (5th), Skye Readhead (4th), Katie Fisher (3rd), Keris Moore (2nd), Edie Carr (1st)
– to all the junior climbers who entered, we hope you had a really amazing time.
to the parents for taking the time to bring your children, some of whom drove a long way and made the drive two days in a row if they made the final!
– to the route setters, Rob Napier, Jack Gould and Thomas Smith, for some fun and challenging problems
– to the volunteers who helped us during the final (judging and brushers) – we owe you a beer and a pizza!
– to everyone who came along to the final and supported all the finalists
to all the Highball Team for their planning and delivery of the event, you all worked really hard.
– To Beta Climbing Designs for the Lapis 23 holds used over the weekend.