Wednesday 3 May 2023

National Climbing Representation

I started climbing when I was fourteen but became serious about climbing when I was sixteen and began training regularly with my friends for competitions in 2022. Most of the climbing I do is bouldering where you climb on short walls without ropes or protective equipment but with a crash pad below. I also climb outside, for example in Glendalough and the Scalp in Co Wicklow as well as Fair Head, Co Antrim. After placing third in the Irish Bouldering Championships in March 2022, I was offered a place on the Irish Youth Squad. We trained for competitions the following season starting in September. I won the Irish Youth Climbing Series and qualified for the Grand Final with the top climbers in Ireland and the UK competing against each other at Swindon. In 2023, the season started with the Irish Bouldering Championships again. I competed in the senior category so the competition was a lot tougher. I managed to place ninth on the day. I also competed in G-Force which is the biggest climbing competition in Ireland. I managed to make it so the semi-finals but am aiming for finals next season. A few weeks ago, The High School entered a team into the Irish Schools Climbing Competition. The top two teams and individuals in Dublin and Cork qualify for the finals. On the team was Jack McGinn, Oliver Davey, Max Holland, and myself. Unfortunately, our team just missed out on qualification, placing third. However, I qualified in the Individual category, so I will have the chance to represent the school on the May Bank Holiday weekend in the finals. I am also training for the Irish Lead Championships which will be held on 7 May. Lead climbing is roped climbing on higher walls, where you bring the rope up with you as you climb and clip it into the fixed carabiners on the way up. It can be difficult to find a balance between training and study with the Leaving Certificate due to start in a month. This means that I have to follow a strict plan and use all my time as efficiently as possible. Luckily, I have training facilities within half an hour of my house. Next season I intend to compete in the European Championships and the Junior category of the Youth World Cup.
Thomas Nickels

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