Gripped will be doing exclusive interviews with coaches and team members of the Canadian junior team each week until the event.
Our man on the ground, and assistant coach of the junior team, is Dung Nguyen. Nguyen owned and operated The V’Sion climbing gym in Canmore, AB. In 2011 he moved to Montreal where he coaches the local junior team that trains at Allez Up climbing gym. His expertise and experience is second-to-none and we are happy to be working with him.
We touched base with Nguyen this morning in Saanich, BC, where he is at a training camp with the junior team.
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How many climbers on the team?
There are 33 athletes here at the training camp including 6 alternates for difficulty, 24 of them are part of the difficulty team, two of which must qualify for difficulty and lead. We have three athletes who have to qualify for only speed. And there are six officials: one head coach (Chris Neve), four assistant coaches (Stacey Weldon, Sean McColl, Denis Mimeault, Dung Nguyen) and a team manager (Ron Gosselin).
What are the age categories?
The age groups are Youth B (14-15), Youth A (16-17) and Junior (18-19), and then it is separated by gender.
So for the athletes presentation we can do the following order, each group has five athletes, four attending Youth World Climbing Championship and one alternate.
Youth B girls,
Youth B boys,
Youth A girls,
Youth A boys,
Talk about the training program
Since the Youth National Championship is on May long weekend, athletes were asked to train on their power up to now. At training camp, our goal is to give athletes some drill ideas on how to train their resistance more known as power/endurance. Furthermore we want to guide them on how to train their mind to deal with a high-pressure event. Overall each athlete will go back to their home gym with more knowledge and guidance to get themselves prepared for the last training phase going into Youth World Climbing Championship.
Throughout the week, athletes have been exposed to a mock-competition, a building-resistance drill with rope walls and bouldering walls: 20-30 hard sequences, volume exercises on rope wall, climbing lots of routes at a lower difficulty level, tactical development, concentration and focus drills, and visualization exercises.
Most importantly athletes from all over Canada have been working on team-building so they can combine their individual forces into a single team drive.
We believe at the end of the training camp each athlete will be a better athlete.
What are strengths or weaknesses of the team?
From a coaching unanimous observation, athletes have very good fitness and great strength. Now we need to focus more on competition tactics.
How is Saanich?
Boulders is the gym where the training camp is taking place. It is a great international scale climbing facility. We are fortunate to train on the wall where the Youth World Climbing Championship will be taking place. The climate has been cooperative, sunny and warm every day.
What is the vibe like?
It is great all of the athletes are taking their role seriously and are committed to training hard to reach their personal best. As usual, the more experienced athletes are teaching the new ones excellent lessons.
Who is the favourite right now in Canada? And the World?
Usually each age group at Youth World Climbing Championship have 50-70 athletes and all of them want to do well and they all deserve podium. Unfortunately there are only three spots on the podium, by the IFSC rules only nine advanced to final round. And only top 26 advanced to semi-final. So within the Canadian Youth team, there are a few that can make semi-final and only a couple that can reach final round.
We suspect the Slovenian, Austrian and Japanese climbers to be the greatest competitors coming to the event.
Nguyen in the V’Sion climbing gym