UK Sport funds GB Climbing to uncover the champions of tomorrow

UK Sport funds GB Climbing to uncover the champions of tomorrow

With plans for £352million investment in Olympic and Paralympic sport, UK Sport has announced Progression Funding for seven sports – including climbing – to uncover and support the champions of tomorrow.  The British Mountaineering Council (BMC) is delighted to announce that it has successfully bid for UK Sport’s Progression and Podium Athlete funding to channel investment into the GB Climbing Performance Pathway.

This funding increase is a boon for both our elite and talent pathway athletes and will also give those grassroots participants whom are just starting their journey, with hope of one day competing on the international stage, a clear pathway to Olympic success.

Developing GB Climbing has been a priority for the BMC during 2020. This year our staff team have made significant progress towards an athlete-focused talent schedule, whilst also encouraging participation in the pathway from across the UK. The new funding from the UK Sport Progression Bid will help further develop this structure in three key areas:

• Evolving and transforming the GB Climbing Performance Pathway
• Developing, aligning and embedding elite coaches at pivotal stages in the pathway
• Delivering a world-class domestic competition structure

The UK Sport Podium Athlete funding will allow GB Climbing, in partnership with the English Institute of Sport, to continue to support Shauna Coxsey to Tokyo and beyond.

Today’s announcement is the third commitment of support to GB Climbing by UK Sport, building upon the previous Aspiration funding and the more recent Continuity funding.

Thanks to the UK Sport Aspiration Fund, GB Climbing was able to create a High Performance Training Facility at The Climbing Works, Sheffield, which allowed our elite athletes and coaches to continue to train this year despite Covid-19 restrictions. This fund also enabled Will Bosi and Molly Thompson-Smith to prepare for, and be supported in, competition at the recent IFSC Moscow European Championships.

The UK Sport Continuity funding will allow GB Climbing to deliver Covid-secure training for the Home Nation and National Talent squads and several Covid-secure competition opportunities (including a Paraclimbing event). In total, the UK Sport investment into GB Climbing will be £450,000 over the next 12 months.

This work will be delivered through close collaboration with the BMC’s partners: Mountaineering Scotland, Climb Scotland, Mountain Training, the Association of British Climbing Walls, as well as liaising with Mountaineering Ireland. GB Climbing is also committed to ensuring that solid, effective structures can also be built for the other competitive areas under the BMC’s umbrella, such as GB Paraclimbing, GB Ice Climbing and Ski Mountaineering.

The recent investment builds on our rich history of competition success in the UK, from the legendary Jerry Moffatt and Simon Nadin to the new wave of Will Bosi, Molly Thompson-Smith and the UK’s first future climbing Olympian: Shauna Coxsey.

Elsewhere, the work put into talent development is seeing early fruits as a crop of young upcoming athletes have used the downtime during the pandemic to test their abilities on classic hard climbs around the nation with notable success. In early December, 15-year-old Toby Roberts became the youngest British athlete to climb 9a when he completed Rainshadow at Malham Cove.

Shauna Coxsey, GB Climbing athlete and UK’s first future climbing Olympian said: “I am so happy that despite the twists and turns of the Olympic journey so far that UK Sport is continuing to support me and the wider team all the way through to Tokyo in 2021.”

Lynn Robinson, BMC president, said: “It’s absolutely fantastic news that the BMC was successful in its bid and adds a note of positivity to the start of 2021. Much work has been put into GB Climbing over recent years and we’re really beginning to see the rewards of all that effort, and the new funding will help further reshape the future of GB Climbing.

“It’s always inspiring to see GB Climbing athletes give it their all, be it on the world stage, in domestic competitions or on local rock. Now we can focus on helping these athletes reach their true potential every step of the way, from their introduction to the sport to their very first international competition, and hopefully to the Olympic Games too.”

Paul Davies, BMC interim CEO, said: “I’d like to thank UK Sport for its continued investment in GB Climbing. There’s a lot of work coming next year in the lead up to the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games to make sure we have done everything possible to give GB Climbing athlete Shauna Coxsey her very best shot at securing one of the first ever Olympic medals for climbing.

“It’s not only our elite athletes – including Will Bosi, Molly Thompson-Smith and more – that will be supported by this funding either. We’re excited of the potential it brings to evolve our Performance Pathway and help develop the best British competition climbing talent and coaches. It will ensure that our athletes have the best support from top coaches and access to the best training facilities, using the latest techniques all the way.

“We are also looking forward to transferring our knowledge to our other elite teams – the already highly-successful Paraclimbing, Ice Climbing and Ski Mountaineering teams – to ensure athletes in all sports and disciplines are nurtured in their journeys to medal success.”

With the help of UK Sport, Sport England and our other partners, the BMC aims to use the funding to put the athletes at the centre of a blueprint to enable them to reach their potential dreams of Olympic or Paralympic participation.

– Ends –

Notes to editors
The British Mountaineering Council (BMC) is the national representative body for climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers in England and Wales and is recognised as such by government. The BMC is committed to promoting the interests of climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers and good practice in all activities related to these pursuits.

The GB Climbing Team is run by the British Mountaineering Council (BMC). The BMC is the national governing body for sport climbing in the UK and is recognised by the International Federation for Sport Climbing (IFSC). The BMC manages the GB Climbing Teams, Talent and Performance pathways, national and international competition events in the UK, and proudly promotes the future of our sport.

Shauna Coxsey MBE is the UK’s most successful ever competition climber. She has won 11 IFSC bouldering world cups and won the overall IFSC bouldering title in 2016 and 2017. Shauna is the first person to be selected to represent Team GB for Sport Climbing at the Tokyo Olympics. In 2017, she was awarded an MBE for her services to climbing.

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