Skateboarders & Climbers enter Training Mode
Tokyo Olympics two years away and skateboarding and climbing hopefuls enter training mode
Posted on 25.07.2018
One of them is a record-breaking climber; the other received Australia’s first academic athlete scholarship for skateboarding.
Fourteen-year-old Angie Scarth-Johnson from the Blue Mountains and Sydney 19-year-old Amar Hadid dream of going to the 2020 Games, which will debut karate, skateboarding, sports climbing and surfing.
Softball and baseball, meanwhile, will return for the first time since Beijing in 2008.
The two young women say the Olympic endorsement has given both of their sports a new sense of legitimacy.
“Prior to being part of the Olympics, it wasn’t really considered a sport and people questioned it a bit,” skateboarder Hadid said.
“But now that it’s part of the Olympics, it allows athletes to train as real athletes.”
14-year-old record breaking climber
Scarth-Johnson, who’s already broken world records for being both the youngest and the first female to climb at certain grades, said she had noticed a boost in her sport.
“When I first started climbing I never thought climbing would become this popular.
“Since then, more gyms have opened up [and] so many more people and giving it a go. I think it’s a really good sport to be a part of.”
The climbing event will include three disciplines; sport, bouldering and speed, with winners chosen based on the combined results of all three, something Scarth-Johnson said would create a tougher competition.
“This will be super hard to train for because usually someone’s good at one or two but rarely three, so it’s going to be very hard for everyone to start training for these different disciplines.”
‘The boys give me props for the tricks I do’
In Tokyo, skateboarding will host two contests; street and park.
To qualify, Hadid, who was awarded Australia’s first academic athlete scholarship for skateboarding at the University of Sydney, will have to prove she’s one of the top skateboarders in the world, and within the top three in Australia.
“I don’t have much time at all and with injuries you can set yourself back. I broke my arm and was out for almost six months [and as it’s] two years away, I’ve got to knuckle down, train hard and that’s what I plan to do.”
Aside from her strict training regime, Hadid is also studying a Bachelor of Liberal Arts and Science with hopes of studying medicine in the future.
And while some might assume that female skateboarders would struggle to earn respect on the ramps, Hadid said it was the opposite.
“At the skatepark it’s usually just boys, but I don’t feel different at all to be honest.
“Maybe at first, I used to think I’m a little bit different to them, but now when I go to the skatepark the boys give me props for the tricks I do, and they help me out.
“It’s such a great community and I think that’s one of the most important things about skateboarding. Everyone’s accepted, no matter your age, colour, race — nothing matters.
“Being a Muslim has not held me back in anyway. Some people question that sometimes, but my parents are supportive of what I do and so is my religion and I’m not doing anything wrong. I hope people can see that.”
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