Friday, 18 December 2009

Local Talent - Eleanor Hopkins

I recently caught up with Callendar based climbing machine Eleanor Hopkins. This extremely talented young athlete is one of the most exciting prospects within British competition climbing at the moment. Even though she is still relatively new to the sport, she has worked hard and is now competing at the highest level. Eleanor recently won the British Team trials in youth c category (which she still has two full years left to compete in), beating an extremely experienced and competitive field on her way to doing so. It is also worth noting here that the final route in her category, which Eleanor came very close to on-sighting, was graded 7c/7c+. This bodes well for competing internationally in the future, as these are the kind of grades she will be coming up against in her category.

Keep an eye out for this talented young lady, as she has all the potential and professional approach to her training required to step up to the international stage. I'm just looking forward to 6 years down the line when she will start doing battle with her idol in the senior category! I think a certain climbing super star will be pretty nervous about that prospect!

How old are you and how long have you been climbing?

I’m 13 years old (14 in April) and have been climbing for 3 years this Christmas.

How did you get involved in climbing?

I first got involved in climbing at an October Kids Camp at Callander (near Stirling), I tried out the wall and I was hooked, So my dad learned to belay and I got my first pair of climbing shoes and harness at Christmas. I started to go about once a week but became a bit more serious when I joined The Young Explorers of Scotland climbing and activity group and then went to my first competition.

What made you want to try competition climbing?

The second round of YCS wall was at my local wall so I went along, not really knowing what to expect and came 2nd, a couple of weeks later I went the third round and overall came 3rd. That meant that I had qualified for the British Final held at Ratho and from then on started to do more and more competitions and got more involved in the sport.

You recently won the British Team Trials/selection Competition, How did this feel?

It is the most amazing feeling when you know you have climbed to the best of your ability and all your hard work has paid of! I am very pleased and happy with my result and would like to thank my coaches for all the help they gave me.

You train more professionally than any climber I have seen. Could you give us a brief run down of how you train?

I train 6 times a week with one rest day:
Monday: At home, strength circuits and rowing machine circuits
Tuesday: Climbing at Ratho
Wednesday: At home, strength circuits
Thursday: Climbing on home board
Friday: Rest day
Saturday: Strength and Conditioning Training at Herriot Watt University. Climbing at Ratho
Sunday: Climbing at Ratho

What would you say your strengths are?

Crimps, steep walls and training.

What would you say your weaknesses are?

Very powerful moves, slopers and dynos (but getting better!).

Have you climbed outdoors?

Only a couple times, twice at Malham and once at Benny Begg, on my first trip to Malham I managed to red-point my first route ever, Frankenstein 7a+.

Which competitor inspires you most from the British Junior competition circuit?

Natalie Berry

Which competitor inspires you most from international competition circuit?

Natalie Berry

What are your future ambitions (short term & long term)?

My short term ambitions are to do more outdoor climbing and compete at the EYS and Worlds, and my long term ambition is to qualify for the final in an EYS and on-sight an 8a outside.

What advice would you give to any young climbers reading this, who are thinking of taking up competitive climbing?

Climbing is an amazing sport at any age or level and if you are thinking about taking part in competition definitely go for it! Have a good time and give it your all but don’t be disappointed if you slip or fall, when I went to the British Finals the first time I came 27th and the following year I came 1st equal. Just remember to always stay motivated and set yourself goals that you can achieve and give it everything you’ve got! Always have a good time and enjoy what you’re doing.