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Youth and experience battle it out at NZ lead climbing comp

Youth and experience battle it out at NZ lead climbing championships

Zane Bray of Auckland first started climbing in national climbing competitions when he was 21. He’s still competing twenty years later, aged 41. Yesterday he narrowly missed taking the gold medal in the men’s open at the Climbing New Zealand Lead Climbing Championships in Auckland, losing to George Sanders, aged 20 from Wellington. Both Sanders and Bray were the only two climbers to reach the top of their climb in the finals, but gold went to Sanders based on a better result in the qualifying rounds, leaving Bray with the silver. Daniel Krippner, climbing for Rotorua Climbing Club, took the bronze medal.

In the women’s open Erica Gatland, aged 20 from Auckland, won the gold medal, toppling 32 year old Sarah Hay who was last year’s champion, who had to settle for bronze this year. Silver went to sixteen year old Mayaan Levy from Hamilton.

Paraclimbing featured at the climbing championships for the first time in New Zealand at the competition held at the weekend at the Extreme Edge in Glen Eden, West Auckland. Three female paraclimbers – Diane Drayton from Wellington, Toni Burgess from Palmerston North and Rachel Carter from Taranaki – all topped at least one of their qualifying climbs. Drayton won the finals, becoming New Zealand’s first ever gold medal paraclimber.

“Its been great to be able to compete alongside athletes of similar ability for the first time and on the same stage as other athletes” said Drayton who is also an active ice-climber. “We hope paraclimbing will grow from here”.

Lead climbing with ropes demands skill, strength and endurance as the climbers compete to see who can get the highest on the overhanging wall.

Climbing is now an official Olympic sport and the first ever Olympic medals will be awarded for climbing in Tokyo in 2020.


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