Finn aiming for the top

Wanaka sport climber Finn Fairbairn. Photo by Marjorie Cook.
Wanaka sport climber Finn Fairbairn. Photo by Marjorie Cook.
Promising sport climber Finn Fairbairn (15) of Wanaka is glad he did not give up on his sport 18 months ago.

In September last year, after taking a year off to pursue other sporting interests, Finn decided to make a bid for the New Zealand team to compete at the World Youth Championships in Singapore.

Helped by a growth spurt - the slight year 11 Mt Aspiring College pupil now stands a respectable 158cm tall - Finn began storming the Basecamp Wanaka climbing walls to earn his ticket, before suffering a minor setback from spraining a thumb late last year.

He qualified by winning the first round of the under-16 category of the National Cup in Wanaka two weeks ago and then went on to perform several trials for the selectors.

He then had to wait a nail-biting couple of weeks to hear whether he had been selected.

The selectors set a high standard, asking the athletes to achieve climbs that would put them into the world championship semifinals, or the top 26 of their international age group.

In Singapore, Finn will be competing against possibly 150-200 boys his own age.

"That is incredible. Just sitting around waiting for them to finish, I will get to know the climbers pretty well," Finn said.

Finn was prepared for the National Cup competition by Loz Ogle and Sefton Priestley. He has previously attained national junior sport climbing titles and spent his year in retirement running and cycling.

To prepare for the world championships, Finn must compete at the next three rounds of National Cup competition in Rotorua (June), Mt Maunganui (July) and Auckland (August) in the men's open category and in his age group.

Finn plans to raise $5000 towards his Singapore trip.


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