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The CEC’s High Performance Program’s New Coach

The CEC has appointed former speed World Champion Libor Hroza as Head Coach of the Canada's High Performance Program

On January 26, Climbing Escalade Canada (CEC) announced the appointment of Libor Hroza as the Head Coach of the 2021 High Performance (HP) Program.

Hroza’s addition to the team is significant. As an athlete, Hroza was best known for his record-breaking speed runs. The former champion was a World Record holder in Speed and has multiple World Cup podiums to his career.

Hroza is a two-time European champion for speed climbing and placed 2nd at the World Championships in 2012. Furthermore, he is a certified Strength and Fitness instructor. As climbing becomes progressively more technical, certifications become more important. No longer is climbing training the mystery it was twenty-years ago. Instead, there is research, best-practices, and ways to avoid injury.

Today, Hroza works with Olympic athletes Adam Ondra, Sean McColl, and Alannah Yip. Though originally from the Czech Republic, Hroza has lived in Canada since 2013. In that time he has become familiar with Canadian athletes, the local community, and has worked directly with the best.

According to the CEC’s publication, “His knowledge of training systems, performance planning and competition preparation will be an asset to the CEC HP Program.”

The CEC’s High-Performance Program is designed to build Competitive Climbers from Provincial Podium placers through to Internationally competitive athletes. This program develops both youth and adult athletes and serves to provide a progressive pathway for Canada’s strongest.

This program is set for the 2021-2024 Olympic Cycle and is separate from the Event Teams Selections for International and Continental Competitions. This program functions to enhance athlete development through the support of the CEC. It is responsible for invitations to Training Camps and provides access to the Canadian Sport System (CSS) resources.

The CSS works as a vehicle for government funding in the sport and develops Canadian Sport Policy. The objectives of Canadian Sport Policy are to introduce people to sport, recreate within that sport, compete in that sport, support high performance in that sport, and develop the sport socially and economically, at home and abroad. You can read more here.

The objective of the High-Performance Program is in line with these policies. It relates to climbing with a goal to increase the number of Canadians achieving top 15 results at World Cups, World Championships and the Olympic Games.

According to the CEC’s publication, “High Performance Program identifies athletes in Train to Compete, Learning to Win, and Winning for a Living stages of CEC’s Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) framework. The HPP is aligned with CEC’s high-performance strategies and funding partners, such as Sport Canada and Own the Podium (OTP).”

An athlete becomes involved with the HP program through one of the two entry points every calendar year. The first, on February 15, is delayed from the February 1 scheduled date. This delay is to “ensure the proper implementation of Continuous National Ranking (CNR), and to allow time for Coach Hroza  to integrate into his new position.”

The Continuous National Ranking calculates athlete ranking based on results in relevant competitions. The Top 6 athletes in the CNR will be selected to join the HPP.

The second opportunity for involvement is following the HP Competition for each discipline. These competitions are complete with small, strong fields and utilize international routesetters to offer the highest quality of competition.

All of this development builds with the Olympic development of Canada’s Climbing Team and is an excellent sign for the development of the sport. Though Climbing is young when compare to its contemporaries, this structured approach, and the people at the CEC that have provided for it, will increase the ability of each of Canada’s competitive climbers.

Featured Image of Libor Hroza.