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Perry climbs to the top at Australian Championships

4 April 2017

SPORT CLIMBING: Roxy Perry (TAS) became a dual national champion on the weekend when she won both sport climbing disciplines at the 2017 Australian Speed and Lead Championships in Villawood, Western Sydney.

While in the men’s competition, Jarred Jordan (NSW) successful defended his national speed title, and 2016 Junior Lead Champion Campbell Harrison (VIC) stepped up to take out this year’s senior Lead title.

Prior to this weekend Perry, who has been on the Australian Climbing Team since 2010, had never contested the Speed discipline before.

However, with the new IOC Olympic format stating athletes must compete in all three climbing disciplines (Lead, Speed and Boulder) at Tokyo 2020, she took on the challenge on Friday evening.

Perry surprised even herself with her gold medal performance.

“I’ve never actually competed in Speed before, so I couldn’t expect much more than this,” Perry said.

“I decided to go out at with 100% commitment because I don’t know much about the wall… so I just thought if I just go full power and try to go as quick as I can, something will happen, right?”

As exhausting as the knock-out competition format was, Perry relished the opportunities to improve her time.

“I started off fairly slow, but each time got a bit quicker and my fastest was in the final round, so I guess that means I did learn something each time.

“It’s so much more leg work than I expected! It was definitely something new but it was actually a lot of fun.”

Carlie LeBreton won silver and Siobhan Dobie took home bronze.

Jarred Jordan, the 2016 Australian and Oceania Champion, was pleased to have defended his Speed title, but knows he has a lot of work to do if he wants to be competitive at Tokyo in three years-time.

“It’s an honour to win for the second year in a row,” Jordan said.

“9.87 [seconds] is a slower time for me and especially in terms of the rest of the world who are currently getting times around 6 seconds.

“So if I could shave off 3 seconds and get a World Record that would be swell, but until then we have work to do,” Jordan joked.

Silver and bronze in the men’s Speed discipline went to Ben Abel and Fred Bonnett respectively.

In Saturday’s Lead competition, the battle for the women’s podium was again between the 2016 place getters.

Perry, who won bronze in 2016, came up against the defending champion Lucy Stirling, and 2016 silver medallist Emma Horan, is what she called "one of the most intense finals I’ve ever done." 

In the nail-biting final, the difference between a ‘used’ and ‘controlled’ hold was all that separated Perry and Stirling, as neither completed the final route.

Perry narrowly came out on top as she attempted to progress past hold 41, while Stirling was only able to control the 41st hold. Horan won bronze, making it to hold 39.

"This is something that I have been dreaming of for a very long time and I have to admit, there were definitely tears of joy," Perry said after the Lead final.

"It’s always so difficult when you have to compete against your friends, especially when the competition is so tight.

"You want them to be happy but you don’t want to sacrifice your performance for it. This final was especially tricky as me and Lucy (Stirling) were very close and, originally, it was almost unclear who had actually won!

"I felt really great on the route though and I couldn’t have been happier with the results. I realised that even if I had come second, it still would have been my best open A, national result ever!" She said.

In the men’s Lead competition, the 2016 senior men’s bronze medallist and 2016 Junior Lead Champion Campbell Harrison, comfortably won gold in the final by a margin of 14 holds.

In second and third place, Thomas Farrell (NSW) and Mattias Braach-Maksvytis (NSW) both controlled 26 holds, with Farrell taking home silver on a countback.

Climbers will now turn their attention to the 2017 Sport Climbing World Cups, and the 2017 World Games to be held in Poland in July.

Georgia Thompson

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