CENTRAL SAANICH — The Boulders Climbing Gym in Central Saanich is a beehive of activity this week as athletes from no less than six teams are already on the Island and training at the gym in advance of the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) 2013 World Youth Climbing Championships which begin tomorrow, Aug. 15.
Climbers from Israel, Switzerland, Slovenia, Russia, Canada and the 47-member strong United States team have all had training sessions at the gym.
Team U.S.A. Head Coach Claudiu Vidulescu, originally from Romania, but who moved to the U.S. in 2001 and has been coaching the U.S. team since 2004, was appreciative of the opportunity to bring his team to The Boulders for training.
“Having the chance to train on the main wall that will be used for the competition is a huge plus for our athletes and for our coaches,” said Vidulescu.
“The kids will be able to get used to the various holds, especially the speed competition holds which we don’t have in the U.S., as well as other little things like the texture of the wall, the climate, which is a bit cooler than we are used to, the surroundings and the facility in general.”
U.S.A. Team Manager and Assistant Coach Chelsea Rude also expects many of her athletes to do well.
“Josh Levin, Ryan Strickland and Thomas Pitzel will be three of our speed climbers to keep an eye on for sure,” said Rude. “Josh just came back from the World Games in Colombia where he set a new unofficial American record of 7.49 seconds.”
“In the lead category for the girls, Margo Hayes and Claire Buhrfeind should do well, while for the boys we’re expecting Drew Ruana to be one of our top competitors,” she added.
Another athlete testing out the facility was Slovenia’s Domen Skofic, who arrived in advance of his teammates after coming to B.C. directly from last week’s World Games in Colombia.
Skofic, 19, was a World Champion in the Youth A category in 2011 and took silver as a Junior at the World’s in 2012.
The competition will also include Nanaimo’s Elan Jonas-McRae and Calgary’s Marc Eveleigh, both members of Team Canada. Jonas-McRae, Eveleigh and Skofic are all ranked in the top 10 in the world in the Junior age division.
The IFSC World Youth Climbing Championships take place Aug. 15 to 19 at The Boulders Climbing Gym adjacent to Stelly’s High School in Central Saanich.
Opening Ceremonies take place Thursday, Aug. 15 at 8 p.m. Qualifying for the lead/difficulty climbing category takes place all day Friday and Saturday beginning at 9:30 a.m., while the speed competition runs all day Sunday. Semi-finals (9:30 a.m.) and finals (4:30 p.m.) in difficulty take place Monday, with the awards and closing ceremonies at 7:30 p.m. For admission rates and more, visit www.climbtheboulders.com.