Climbing: Olympic inclusion a boost for climbers, says Britain's Horrocks

(Reuters) - The inclusion of sport climbing at the Olympics is a boost for competitors as they will receive additional funding, allowing them to focus on their training, former British Bouldering champion Imogen Horrocks has said.

Sport climbing will make its debut in the Tokyo Games, which were scheduled to take place this year but have been postponed to July 23-Aug. 8, 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It would be mega for climbing. We would get so much more funding and have a lot more support," Horrocks told Reuters.

"For athletes, unless you're number one it's tough to get funding so you have to do other stuff which takes away from the training."

Sport climbing at the Olympics will feature a combination of the speed, bouldering and lead disciplines so Horrocks, who only competes in bouldering, said she would give Tokyo, as well as the 2024 Paris Games, a miss.

"I won't be doing Paris. I won't be doing the mixed events as I primarily do bouldering. I don't do speed or lead so I can't really be part of that."

With Britain in lockdown to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus and no access to gyms and training facilities, Horrocks has used innovative ways to stay in shape.

"I guess a lot of bodyweight training and different kinds of mobility exercises. Slacklining is a popular thing climbers do. We have different fingerboards and boards they hang over branches and a lot of floor work," she added.

(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)