Jason Holowach is one of Canada’s athletes competing in the IFSC World Championships in Innsbruck this week.

The lead event has wrapped up and the women kicked off the bouldering event today (results here), followed by men’s qualifiers tomorrow.

We touched base with Holowach mid-week to talk about his climbing and the overall event.

How do you feel about your performance in the Lead event? I feel pretty good! Before this season it had been something like 14/15 years since I had competed in lead outside of Canada, so I knew going into the season I was going to be quite behind.

After analyzing my season, and pulling my relative result from each competition, it was nice to see I improved every competition. I know the number beside my name doesn’t look too good, but for me, in a field this deep, I’m happy.

Canadians have been reacting to the penalties given (and not given) to athletes for dabbing sponsor signage, has this controversy shifted the tone at the event at all? I can’t speak for everyone, but for sure it has affected the whole Canadian team. It’s clear Sean is ready for this event, and he deserved to go through, but unfortunately after taking all the necessary steps to address the issue it still couldn’t be resolved.

Simply put the system failed this time around, and it sucks that Sean had to be the one taking the hit. Now that it’s over, all we can do is just move on and finish the week, stay focused and do what we do… compete.

You’re competing in all 3 disciplines, do you have a preference for a particular event? Bouldering for sure, but I really do love lead. I just wish now that I would have jumped back into competing lead a lot earlier.

As for speed, I just need a lot of work with it. Training it is really fun, competing in it would be a lot more fun if I were better at it. Right now for me it’s just a game of personal bests.

What have you been doing to prepare (mentally and/or physically) for the bouldering event? After lead we jumped straight into boulder training. We spent a day at the Kletterzentrum Innsbruck and a day at a gym in Telfs, a town just out side of Innsbruck.

Yesterday was a rest day for everyone. Some of us chose to walk around and explore, others hung out in our rooms and watched Netflix or play video games. I tried to balance the two, so I didn’t go too stir crazy. Mentally I just try to stay calm, enjoy my surroundings, basically trying to save it all for the event.

For our first time ever, we have our own physical therapist (Len Chong) with us this trip! He has been a huge asset, I won’t speak for anyone but myself here but at my age, doing this, you’re going to accumulate some ‘soreness’ let’s call it. So long story short preparation is a team effort.

What do you do in your down time there? Over the past couple months I have taught a few of the athletes how to play crib, so we dabble in that every once in a while. Other than that, Netflix, chat with my wife via FaceTime when our schedules align and work if need be.

What was the last thing you watched on Netflix? Currently nothing very exciting, just Better Call Saul the prequel to Breaking Bad.

It must be awesome to be surrounded by the world’s top athletes. Is there a performance by an athlete you’ve seen so far that was particularly inspiring? Getting the chance to see the double Austrian win was inspiring, and emotional.

On top of that, it’s always a pleasure to watch Janja Garnbret and the entire Japanese team, they are all so well-rounded and true professionals of this sport.

What’s the best part about competing in the World Championships? Being surrounded by such passionate and hard working individuals. It’s inspiring to watch and especially motivating to be a part of.

I would like to say this won’t be my last World Championships but there is a chance I might not make it to another one. So I’m trying to enjoy all that I can while maintaining focus and determination.

Wishing Holowach and the rest of the Canadian men a great comp tomorrow! Check the live stream (if you’re up) or the replay here. Click to play the clip below.

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