William Hammersla reports on his first nationals event
All images courtesy of Eddie Fowke (http://eddiefowkephotography.com)
After some strange weather and snow in the Blue Mountains, Sydney threw us a stunning, sunshine filled weekend for the Sport Climbing Australian Boulder Nationals last weekend. As we walked into Villawood the air was filled with the sound of nervous chatter and drills, I could barely keep the smile off my face as I glanced upstairs at the World Cup–style walls that held our heat problems.
This was my first national event and one of the things about climbing – and especially bouldering – that I love is the camaraderie and support between climbers. Even when one of your immediate competitors is on the wall, we still yell out support. This nationals was no exception. In the Open, Junior, and Youth events, the crowd, which consisted mainly of coaches, parents and fellow competitors, cried out with every top and every attempt.
I haven’t been climbing for long, however I have participated in a wide variety of sports around the world, from rugby in England, to competitive Wushu or Kung Fu in Australia, but never have I been involved with such amazing people as are found in the Australian climbing community. I have been embraced as an athlete and coach by some of the friendliest support from some of the strongest and most talented people I have ever met. The Australian Boulder Nationals showcased this exceptional sporting spirit and introduced me to more of Australia’s climbing elite.
Some of the standouts for me was watching the big names in Australia climbing going at it in the finals, both Monique Forestier and James Kassay, this years National Champions, impressed the crowd with some of the strongest climbing I have ever seen. In addition to this, the Sunday held some fantastic rivalry, with some of the Youth events being decided by a single move. It is safe to say that we have some exceptionally strong climbers in the making!
The whole weekend was magic, the route-setting superb and the flow of events flawless. Both the Saturday and Sunday had terrific turnouts with plenty of fun-filled rivalry. The sponsors: Black Diamond, SICG Villawood and Indoor Climbing Productions, supplied some fantastic prizes as well as the use of an amazing facility, which added to the incredible hype.
The festivities were followed up by an excellent Sport Climbing Association’s Annual General Meeting where the coming year’s board members were elected, as well as some exciting plans for the future, with a full competition season in 2013. Thanks to everyone that competed, trained, route set and supported this years Nationals. It was my first but it certainly will not be my last.
William Hammersla, Bayside Rock athlete and coach