Sport Climbing once was a fringe sport in Australia but with the addition of climbing to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games more participants are starting to climb – especially women.
Sport Climbing Australia Director Naomi Cleary said the sport is becoming more popular with women not only because it’s open to competitors of all levels, but because it’s an exciting sport to watch.
“The opening of many new facilities around the country has also made it easier for people to have access to the sport,” Naomi said.
“People can participate anywhere from once or twice per year right up to those who seriously train for national and international competition, and people of all levels can climb together.”
Naomi said the growth in female participants means equal numbers of men and women in recent events and puts this down to the sports culture.
“Our sport has a very welcoming and inclusive culture for all participants. This is a big part of the appeal of the sport as our culture is unique,” she said.
“Even at the organisational level, most of the states have equal representation on their boards and this translates throughout the sport into the organisation of events and competitions.”
Selection events for the Olympic Games take place in 2019 and Sport Climbing Australia is working on developing coaching programs, route setter development and team development.
“The next big challenge for us is the development of a National High Performance training center which would help the sport at all levels,” Naomi said.
Competitor Anna Davey is working hard for National selection and agrees that there is no other sport she’s aware of that is so welcoming and encouraging to women.
“Climbing culture is second to none, competition climbers who watch their rivals compete will still cheer for them and want them to succeed,” Anna said.
“The sport is growing in general but the start list of women in competitions grows every year which is great!”
Anna began competing after a rich history of sports, fitness and even body building but said she prefers to be judged on performance while climbing rather than aesthetics.
“Pretty such from the moment my feet left the ground, I was hooked. I was there once a week, then twice a week, then 5 days a week,” Anna said.