Review of UIAA/ICC World Youth Championships (Ratho 2004)

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The UIAA-ICC World Youth Climbing Championships, the most prestigious competition in the world for youths and juniors, took place at the National Rock Climbing Centre of Scotland in the Adventure Centre Ratho, from 9th to 12th September 2004.

This was the second international UIAA climbing event to be held in Scotland in the past 12 months, following the success of the World Cup Indoor Climbing Finals last December. BBC Scotland filmed the competition which will be televised sometime later in September, while live action was available at throughout the event.

Competitors came from 30 nations around the world for the biggest ever championships of its kind. Countries represented included USA, Russia, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Venezuela, Korea, Ukraine, Slovenia, Slovakia, Netherlands, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Finland, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Hungary and many more.

Despite the financial difficulties that the Centre has been suffering for sometime, the championships were a great success, testament to the quality of the facilities and its growing reputation as a world class competition climbing venue.

Marco Scolaris, President of the ICC (International council for Competition Climbing) said:"The success of these World Championships means that Ratho has now set the standard for future competitions around the world. This facility is perfect for such a prestigious event as the World Youth Championships and it is hard to imagine how other venues will be able to match the size and range of facilities on offer. There is so much spectator space and climbing walls here which make the competition from qualifying rounds through to finals very engaging. Youngsters from over 30 countries have mixed and made lasting friendships. We need more places like Ratho around the world. It is a very special place."

Yuri Skorlatof, Vice President of Russian Federation for Climbing and Mountaineering commented: "This place is very 21st Century and the best I have ever seen. I really hope that it is possible for Ratho to host more world championships in the next few years."

The Championships consisted of 2 disciplines, Difficulty and Speed with competitors aged between 14 and 19 years, both male and female in 3 different age categories.

Junior Age 18 - 19 years

Youth A Age 16 - 17 years

Youth B Age 14 - 15 years

Team coaches across the world including Slovenia, Germany, Russia, Japan, Singapore and Venezuela were all raving about the Centre.

Kyle Clinkscales, USA Team Coach: "This is the most amazing facility I have ever been to and I have been all over the world with the US team since 1998. There is nothing at all like this place anywhere in the whole of the USA and I really wish there was. We would love to be able to come here and train. All the other facilities, along with the magnificent walls make it a great all round experience. All my team have had a go on the SkyRide and absolutely loved it. It is world class and I would love to comeback."

Graham Hyland Australia Junior Climbing Team, Team Manager: "There is nowhere else like this, that offers the quality and quantity of climbing available. Ratho offers more to kids and adults than anywhere else I have ever been. It has the capacity to handle such large numbers of people in any weather. !"

Dan Kadlec, Czech Republic Team Coach: "I really wish good luck to the Centre because is so great and it would be wonderful to run more competitions here in the future. My entire team have really enjoyed it at Ratho, with the high walls and there is everything here that they need."

Rassip Isnin, Singapore Team Manager:"This venue is fantastic because of the incredible variety of walls available for so many people to use at anyone time. Plus all the bouldering available. I run a climbing centre back home but this is just world class and it is a real pity for climbers worldwide if this Centre is forced to close."

These World Youth Championships were sponsored by Edinburgh-based investment managers, Baillie Gifford, with The City of Edinburgh Council, Scottish Enterprise Edinburgh and Lothian and EventScotland as key funding partners.

Full competition results can be found on The BMC website at

Reported by Alison Powell (15-09-2004)

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