The Foyle Arena Climbing Club is toasting national success after three local youngsters recorded success at the recent Mountaineering Ireland Youth Climbing Series in Dublin.
The competition was the first of a series of three to decide the Irish Youth champions for 2017 with the final event set to be hosted by Derry City and Strabane District Council at the Limavady Road venue.
Oliver Crouch, Adam Tinney and Dillon McLaughlin all train at the Foyle Arena under the watchful eye of Instructor Rodney Moore who said their high placings at the Awesone Walls centre event in Dublin were a huge boost to the sport locally.
“We have only had a climbing wall at the Foyle Arena for two years so to be competing at this level so soon represents a remarkably quick return,” said Moore.
“Our youngsters are competing against kids of 13 or 14 years of age, some of whom are competition veterans and have been climbing all their lives so, in that sense, we are playing catch up with the other regions.
“Hopefully this is the start of something exciting. We have world class indoor facilities here so there is no reason why we shouldn’t be aiming high.”
Oliver Crouch was climbing at this level for the first time after completing the National Indoor Climbing Award scheme at the Foyle Arena and thriving in the beginners’ level Junior Irish Climbing league.
He finished an outstanding ninth position overall in the ‘Youth C’ section for climbers born in 2004 and 2005.
Dillon McLaughlin is a member of the Mountaineering Ireland Talent Squad and has been marked out as one to watch for some time having already won the Dublin section of the Junior Irish Bouldering League.
He made the significant step up from ‘Youth C’ to ‘Youth B’ level for the recent tournament in Dublin but coped comfortably at the higher age group to finish 11th overall.
There was more local success at ‘Youth B’ level as former Talent Squad member Adam Tinney claimed a ninth place finish.
Adam has competed at international level in the UK and Ireland Climbing League finals at the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena and will relish competing on home soil when the series comes to the Foyle Arena in March.
“They learn a lot from competing at national level,” admitted Moore. “It gives them confidence that they can compete with the best in Ireland and they can pass on their experience with other young climbers at the Foyle Arena.
“They are doing the North West proud. Most of the tournaments are in Dublin and Cork so it’s a big commitment logistically to travel up and down in one day and compete.
“The Series is aimed at the most experienced young climbers in Ireland, offering them the chance to compete against each other in a variety of venues.”
The Foyle Arena is a Primary Centre for the National Indoor Climbing Award Scheme (NICAS) which encourages people to learn how to climb correctly and safely with a view towards climbing independently and, if they choose, competitively in the future.
“Level One teaches the basics like rope work techniques and understanding hazards so they can climb safely under supervision,” explained Rodney
“The levels above that allow climbers to take to the wall independently to practise and improve their techniques by themselves and through further coaching.”
Registration for the Mountaineering Ireland Climbing Series at the Foyle Arena on March 25th is now open on the website www.mountaineering.ie and the closing date for entries is Wednesday, March 22nd at 8pm.
Anyone interested in enrolling in NICAS or trying out the climbing wall at the Foyle Arena can contact the centre directly on 028 71 376555 to arrange a session.