30th September 2019 — Toby Roberts, day pupil from Elstead in the 4th Form (Year 10) at King Edward’s Witley, has been selected to represent Great Britain at the IFSC (International Federation of Sport) European Youth Championships later this month after successfully competing in the IFSC World Youth Championships at Italy’s famous Arco climbing wall.
While many of his friends were enjoying a beach holiday, Toby Roberts, aged 14, was scaling new heights as he competed for Great Britain in the IFSC World Youth Championships in Italy. He was one of three climbers selected in his two-year age range. Toby competed in the ‘lower-half’ of his group (comprising 88 entrants representing more than 35 countries) and represented GBR in all four climbing disciplines – lead, boulder, speed and combined.
In lead, he was the highest placed European athlete and second in the world of those born in 2005. Subsequently, Toby’s overall lead ranking has now jumped to fourth in the world!
In the bouldering discipline Toby climbed into the semi-finals, narrowly missing the finals by seconds, securing 15th place and an overall 9th place combined finish. A remarkable feat amongst global competitors.
Toby is now turning his attention to the European Youth Championships later this September, whilst next year’s Youth World Championships in China is his longer-term goal.
Toby said, “I qualified in April to represent GBR at the World Youth Climbing Championships in August and trained hard in the four months’ run up to the 10-day competition in Arco, Italy.
I knew the competition would be hard – especially being in the lower half of the age group and climbing against boys a year older than me; but I was feeling strong and climbing well in training.
I had a great semi-final and final route. It was a fantastic experience to climb in the finals and finish in sixth place in lead. I feel like the podium places are within reach - which is one of my goals for next year.”
Commenting on Toby’s careful balance of school and training, his father Tristian Roberts said, “Toby has always had incredible determination and grit when ‘on the climbing wall’ but the time spent ‘off the wall’ and away from training is equally as important. Toby trains a minimum of three hours a day, six days a week, during term time. This year he is undertaking a lot more European travel during term time for competitions. For us, school selection was crucial in making sure Toby’s training could be balanced with his educational commitments.
“At King Edward’s, the House-based system, the School’s online learning platform and excellent communication with his Housemaster and teachers combine to make logistics easy to organise when regular schedule changes occur, meaning Toby is able to manage his schoolwork effectively. We are also grateful to Toby’s sponsors - La Sportiva, Petzl, Friction Labs and Third Space London who make his climbing aspirations possible”.
Mr Mark Harrison, Director of Co-Curriculum, at King Edward’s Witley said, “Toby is a true inspiration to us all at King Edward’s. His hard work, dedication and focus towards school work and climbing is a fine example of achieving a school life balance. His tenacity, courage, and talent have reaped incredible results on an international scale. We hope Toby is as proud of his successes as his peers and the staff are. We will continue to support his ambitions and wish him every success. With climbing now set to make its debut at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the heights are an Olympic podium place.”