Nine-year-old climber called up for Team GB

Toby Skelton has been selected to be part of Team GB's National Development Squad 2022.

Toby Skelton has been selected to be part of Team GB's National Development Squad 2022. - Credit: Highball Climbing/Juliet Scott

Young climber Toby Skelton has high ambitions when it comes to the sport he loves - he has his sights set on the Olympics. 

That goal is one step closer for the nine-year-old, from Norwich, after he was selected to be part of Team GB's 2022 climbing development squad.

Toby, who attends Brundall School, was first introduced to the sport - which made its Olympics debut at last year's games in Tokyo - at the age of two by his mother and coach Juliet Scott, 47.

He has since picked up her passion for it after attending many competitions by her side.

Toby, 9, hopes to continue his success after being selected.

Toby, 9, hopes to continue his success after being selected. - Credit: Highball Climbing/ Juliet Scott

Miss Scott, who runs a rock climbing squad in Wymondham, said: "He has always been near it, but only started competing this year.

"He has seen me take other students on this journey, and would have been desperate to join it.

"Because he's little, he hasn't really known a world without climbing and the Olympics. I've been at competitions holding his hand at four, walking up and down cheering people on.

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"It's what he's been brought up with. It's lovely he gets to be part of it now."

Toby Skelton has been selected to be part of Team GB's National Development Squad 2022.

Toby Skelton has been selected to be part of Team GB's National Development Squad 2022. - Credit: Highball Climbing/Juliet Scott

The nine-year-old, who likes being to be high up and says he enjoys the  "adventurous and wild" aspect of the sport, climbs twice a week and his training consists of using ropes and of bouldering.

He took part in four competitions in the Youth Climbing Series for his age group in the North London and South East region and won a set of them, giving him direct entry into the British climbing team.

His mother said: "He tries really hard.

"It's a huge confidence boost for him and he's desperate to stay in it.

Toby Skelton has been selected to be part of Team GB's National Development Squad 2022.

Toby Skelton has been selected to be part of Team GB's National Development Squad 2022. - Credit: Highball Climbing/ Juliet Scott

"Toby isn't awfully confident at school, so this is an area where he gets a lot of confidence from, and it's made him very fit and strong."

She jokingly added: "He is little and not modest. 

"When he gets his jumper and t-shirt he will parade it around. He wore his medal for about two weeks."

And now that the ambitious youth has been accepted onto the squad, he hopes his success continues to reach new heights.

He said: "I would like to keep going until I maybe get into the Olympics, or climb for England.

"And maybe be the best in Great Britain."


Climbing at the Olympics

The sport made its debut at the Tokyo Games, which were held last year after being delayed by the pandemic.

It involves climbers competing in three disciplines: lead climbing, in which athletes compete to see who can go the highest on a wall; speed climbing, which sees them race each other up a wall; and bouldering, which involves them earning points for tackling a series of challenging 'courses'.

The medals are determined on best performances across all three categories.

The first gold medals were won by Spaniard Alberto Ginés López, for the men, and Janja Garnbret, from Slovenia, for the women.