History-maker Lucy Garlick is gearing up for the toughest tests of her burgeoning climbing career.
The 16-year-old has become the youngest person in the history of British Climbing to make the senior setup, after a sterling junior career that has delivered both domestic and international success.
There were no guarantees that the Carshalton climber would progress to the senior programme so early – and doing so isn’t without its challenges – but it is an opportunity she’s grasping with both hands.
“There was a selection event that I went to in boulder and lead – which are the two disciplines I do – and it was a bit of an unknown,” said Garlick, who is being supported by Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) through SportsAid this year.
“I knew it was a possibility that I was potentially good enough but it was up in the air. To make the senior team – I should be going to a senior European competition this year in boulder and lead – it just sounds crazy to me.
“It’s such a good opportunity to get the exposure young, so when you’re older it’s less of an intimidating competition to go to. I haven’t been to any training events yet, that’s still to come this season. They sound really fun, so I’m really excited!
“I think it’s all about fine-tuning the competition warm-up and competition experience, what are my goals and what I’m expecting out of it, and how to make that happen.
“Some of the youth and senior competitions clash so it’s just about deciding what’s important to me this year and what goals I can reach by going to those competitions, and how to balance the training and competing because it’s quite a tight turnaround. My coach is just trying to work all that out.”
Garlick was announced as part of RBC’s ‘Class of 2023’ at a welcome reception in London last week. She is one of 50 athletes, across 34 sporting disciplines, to have received an award contributing towards costs such as travel, accommodation and equipment.
RBC and SportsAid are celebrating 10 years of partnership in 2023 with over £1 million of support, including more than £325,000 raised by employees, provided to the charity over the course of the last decade.
There’s never been a more exciting time for the sport, having made its debut at the Olympic Games in Tokyo and continually growing in popularity.
And Garlick knows exactly what her targets are on both a short and long-term level.
She added: “I think it’s really good to see climbing getting the exposure that it’s getting, and getting into the Olympics. We obviously had a GB athlete [Shauna Coxsey] go out there and do well in Tokyo, so it’s good to see the sport grow. It’s nice that the World Championships are also so big.
“There’s some goals for the competitions. For the senior ones, I just want to get the exposure and the experience, there’s no pressure or expectation. But, for the youths I want to try and get the podium at the Worlds, the results there to prove that I am good enough.
“My biggest goal is the Olympics in 2028, and then I want to become world champion in both disciplines.”
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