An Interesting Journey.
After the Tokyo Olympics Speed climbing was separated off and has its own medal for Paris24, a proposal was put forward to the Climbing NZ committee to establish a High Performance climbing program just focusing on speed climbing. The idea would be that with the Olympic climbing wall at Blake Park in Mount Maunganui already there and with access to many very talented coaches in the area that we had an opportunity to see if we can get a NZ climber to the Olympics in Paris24 and LA28.
The catch was that to be in the program the athletes would have to forego any training in the 2 other disciplines to only concentrate on Speed climbing for the next 2+ years. Obviously, this wasn’t going to suit many climbers, if any!
It seems though, that the pull of the Olympics is too great for some and after going through a selection process, we finally whittled it down to 6 eager athletes.
The program was written up with very clear structure and specific goals. It outlines the pathway we are trying to take to get to Paris and the work that we need to put in to get there, A Lot!
I presented this document to High Performance Sport NZ and they were very excited. After a whirlwind few weeks and a tonne of learning about how the HP environment works, we were rewarded by receiving funding for the program heading to Paris and hopefully LA. The amount of funding is not huge when comparing to other sports, but what is the most value in my opinion is the recognition of our sport through that process.
With the funding comes other opportunities that we have not been privy too in the past. We get to work with specific speed and power coaches, speed and agility coaches, get state of the art testing equipment to test explosive power and where athletes have specific weaknesses, mental coaches and more. The HPSNZ funding has really opened doors that were only there for the Major sports in the past. One of the really exciting coaches that we are working with is Ola Rudinska the Olympic speed record holder form Poland. Ola is our Beta coach and works remotely on each athletes beta from videos I send her of the climbers. This has made really amazing changes.
Currently we are 7 weeks into the program. Unfortunately the ICC woman’s cricket World Cup meant that our training was very interrupted for 4 weeks, but we all pushed through and are out the other side back on the Speedwall full time. We have specific objective goals to hit every 6 months and already we are tracking faster than projected. Its an exciting program for the athletes and I’m really stoked with their dedication and determination. Hopefully this exciting discipline will get more coverage as we start to do a little better and the program will grow and develop. As speed climbing becomes more popular in other regions, I’m really sure we will start to see more athletes joining the program for LA28 and hopefully onto Brisbane32.
Introducing the Athletes on the program;
Julian David, current Open Male record holder 8.74 seconds
Sarah Tetzlaff, current Open Female record holder 11.14 seconds
Flynn Chisholm ranked #2 Open Males
Jorja Rangi, ranked #2 Open Females
Ned Johnston, ranked #4 Open Males
Abby Gebert, (not able to compete at nationals but current Youth B record holder)
To follow along on our journey, check out our insta page @speedclimbingnzl
Program Director/Head Coach