a TEENAGE girl from Alfreton has been selected for the GB climbing team.
Gracie Martin, 14, came second in an Open Youth climbing competition in December and is now training for a competition in March when selectors will pick the final line-up to compete at the World Championships in Singapore.
Gracie, who has now been climbing for three years, says she is now preparing for the competition in Edinburgh.
She said: “After coming second in a Youth Climbing competition in Sunderland I entered the Open Youth climbing competition in Edinburgh, where there were selectors for the British team, and came second.
“I’ve been doing a lot of very hard training and sticking to my plan.
“I am looking for sponsorship. I am hoping that a company would give me some – however big or small – to cover travelling costs and kit.
“A pair of boots is easily £100 and when you’re training a lot you get through a few pairs.”
Last year she stormed to victory, aged 13, in the Youth Climbing Series National Final, despite being one of the youngest climbers in her category.
Competing against climbers aged 17, she successfully tackled three boulder problems and three routes on a practice wall, reaching the highest point of the toughest challenge.
Dedicated Gracie trains four times a week in Nottingham and Sheffield and is part of the Nottingham Junior Climbing team which meets every Saturday.
And when she isn’t hanging from a practice wall hand-hold, she is improving her upper-body strength at home in Chesterfield Road by practising pull-ups on a finger board in the kitchen.
Her mum Sara says she is amazed by Gracie’s determination and focus, adding that her daughter has roped the rest of the family into the pursuit.
She said: “Everybody now climbs a little bit – there’s a lot of rope-holding!”
Gracie was spotted by coaches at Nottingham Climbing Centre and invited to join the Nottingham Junior Climbing Team. She said: “I would like a career in climbing but there’s not much money in the sport. But you never know. It could potentially become an Olympic sport. We will have to see what happens in 2016. I have got to get a lot better and then I can start coaching people.
“You do fall off all the time really, but I’ve had no serious falls thankfully!”
If anyone is interested in sponsoring Gracie they can contact the Ripley and Heanor News by calling 01773 514163 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.