World Climbing Championships Come to Scotland

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The UIAA-ICC World Youth Climbing Championships is the most prestigious competition in the world for youths and juniors. Set to attract more competitors than ever before, the championships are taking place at the National Rock Climbing Centre of Scotland in the Adventure Centre, Ratho from 9th to 12th September 2004. More than 350 competitors from 30 nations are expected to attend, testimony to the Centres world class climbing facilities and its global reputation as a premium competition venue.

The four day long competition is sponsored by Edinburgh-based investment managers, Baillie Gifford, with The City of Edinburgh Council, Scottish Enterprise Edinburgh and Lothian and Event Scotland as key funding partners.

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

The event consists of 2 disciplines, Difficulty and Speed (see Editors Notes), with competitors aged between 14 and 19 years, both male and female, in 3 different age categories.

Being the host nation, the British team will be out in force with 17 young Britons competing against the best young climbers in the world. Potential finalists from the British Team include Tom Bolger (Youth A aged 16 - 17 years) who recently won a round of Difficulty in the European Youth Cup and finished 2nd overall in the European Youth Cup Series, along with Martin Watson (Youth B aged 14 - 15 years) and Jemma Powell (Youth A Female aged 16 - 17 years). Spectators are welcome at the event to support the British hopefuls.

Although still competing in Youth events, some of the competitors at these championships have already met with considerable success at senior level. For example Anna Stohr of Austria was a silver medalist and Chloe Graftiaux of Belgium was 7th at the recent UIAA- ICC European Bouldering Championships, whilst Alizee Dufraisse of France achieved 7th in one of the rounds of the Bouldering World Cup this year.

Councillor Donald Anderson, Leader of the City of Edinburgh Council said: "Edinburgh is extremely proud to stage this prestigious event and host some of the world's best young climbers. This will be a unique opportunity for people to watch world-class sport in the world's best purpose-built climbing facility."

Sarah Whitley from Baillie Gifford, the local Edinburgh company that has stepped in to assist with the event, comments: "Baillie Gifford are delighted to help ensure that a world championship comes to Edinburgh. The Ratho complex is a good example of how the excellent leisure facilities that are increasingly available around Edinburgh help to provide such an attractive environment in which to live and work. The ability to attract world class competitors is an additional attraction to us all."

Susan Watson, SE Edinburgh and Lothian's tourism team leader, comments: "Bringing young climbers from around the world to Edinburgh to compete in these championships is a real delight and an endorsement of the top class facilities available at Ratho. The city is increasingly recognised for the quality of experience it can offer young people and these championships will offer a taste of the style and vibrancy of Edinburgh to the competitors which we hope will encourage them and their friends to make a return visit."

John Mackenzie, President Mountaineering Council of Scotland also said: "Being able to host the World Youth Championships at the Scottish National Rock Climbing Centre at Ratho, will put Scotland on the world climbing map and increase the awareness around the world not only of the quality and scale of our premier indoor facility, but of the quality of the climbing on offer across Scotland's mountains and sea cliffs. We will be able to build on the event to attract these young people, their friends and families, back to Scotland as climbing tourists of the future and make Scotland a venue on any climbers world travels."

Reported by Alison Powell (05-09-2004)

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