Climbing centre will host team GB in three-day festival to showcase skills

The Big Flash climbing competition is set to be held at Highball Climbing Centre this year. Alexia B

The Big Flash climbing competition is set to be held at Highball Climbing Centre this year. Alexia Basch, current champion, will again be competing. - Credit: Reflection PR

It may be known for being as flat as a pancake - but Norfolk will welcome those who would rather scale the highest heights.

Highball Climbing Centre, Norwich, 2016. Picture: Chris Ridley

Highball Climbing Centre, Norwich, 2016. Picture: Chris Ridley - Credit: Chris Ridley

Highball Climbing Centre, in Twickenham Road, Norwich, will be welcoming some of the country's most talented athletes in what is a popular event on GB bouldering team's climbing calendar.

The three-day festival of climbing - from Friday, October 14 to Sunday, October 16 - will be open to both climbers and non-climbers to watch.

It's known as The Big Flash and will see international standard sportsmen and women show off their strength, climbing techniques and balancing skills.

The Big Flash current champion Alexia Basch will be competing against fellow GB team members on Highball's DMM Competition Wall which is over 30m long and 4.5m high.

Miss Basch was inspired to climb at the age of 10 when she got to the top of a theme park climbing wall before the buzzer went off.

Now 17 she is ranked number one in the UK for under 18s.

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The Big Flash is one of Miss Basch's favourite competitions and she hopes it will inspire children across the region to try climbing at Highball.

She said: 'As a youngster climbing offered a different challenge every single time and I could see improvements really quickly from one session to the next. There is always a higher grade and a bigger goal.

'You can have fun by jumping over a boulder or challenge your strength and fitness by tackling a more difficult wall.

'The Big Flash competition is huge and there is a unique atmosphere on the day at Highball with a loud and enthusiastic crowd.

'My long term ambition is to do a senior circuit and get onto the senior GB team and hopefully be selected for the Olympics in Tokyo!'

Climbers of all ages also have the chance to show off their skills and judged in a large scale event in 'Nu Kids on the Block' competition on the evening of Friday, October 14.

The climax of the competition will be Sunday's Grand Final, where each junior and senior finalist will crank, crimp and crush their way across a range of surfaces without ropes or harnesses. The super-human display is set to have the crowd open mouthed on the edges of their seats.

Alongside the two main competitions there will be a range of free climbing and non-climbing activities for all the family including climbing tasters, masterclasses and coaching as well as sessions on strength and conditioning, nutrition and sports massage.

The centre has seen a 29pc increase in young people climbing and recently hosted its first Junior Flash competition in response to demand.

Mike Surtees, Highball Climbing Centre's managing Director, is confident the recognition of climbing as an Olympic sport will only fuel youngsters' interest.

He hoped watching the skills of UK team climbers would inspire youngsters in the region to take up the sport.

He added: 'We are fortunate to have such a fantastic climbing facility in Norfolk and to host the Big Flash competition which not only will see some of the nation's best climbers compete but will also inspire and encourage youngsters to get involved in this challenging and exciting sport and hopefully compete in future Olympics.'

Attendees will be invited to make a donation to Climbers Against Cancer and East Anglian Air Ambulance.

Some £3,800 for Climbers Against Cancer (CAC) and the GB Climbing Team was raised last year and this year Highball is aiming for £4,000.

To register to climb, or for more information, visit:

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