BRITISH climbing champion Connor Byrne is facing up to his most difficult challenge yet – obtaining funding to help him achieve his true potential.
The Clitheroe Royal Grammar School pupil has been national lead climbing champion for the past two years and has just been selected for the Great Britain team for the third year running.
With climbing on the shortlist for the 2020 Olympics, Connor is considered among the top young lead climbers in the country.
However, to achieve those Olympic dreams, he is hoping to secure a major funding deal to help him compete against the best in Europe.
Last year, he was 17th and 12th in two major European competitions in France and Slovenia and was the top GB boy in his age group at both events.
His incluesion in this year’s national squad underlines his talents – the honour only goes to the very best young climbers who are expected to come within the top 20 places at European Youth Competitions over the coming 12 months.
Now his mum Caroline is hoping to secure funding for Connor who was shortlisted for the Grass Roots Heroes young sports personality of the year.
She said: “We do get some funding for which we are very grateful but it would be fantastic if there was a big local company who would like to help Connor compete against the best across Europe.
“There is very little in the way of funding for the national team or for representing GB at competitions.
“Hence, team members train within their regions, at their own expenses, often on their own and only come together for national and international competitions.
“Connor receives free kit from Beyond Hope, suppliers of climbing equipment and clothing. “He has also had support from Ribble Valley Borough Council, Lancashire Playing Fields Association and Clitheroe Royal Grammar School, without which the cost of travel and training would have been very difficult to cover.
“But it would be fantastic if there was someone who could come in with some big sponsorship.”
Unlike many sports there is no centre of excellence which offers schooling alongside elite climbing coaching – a luxury many of the the European teams have. Many climbing walls allow team members free entry to their venues for training, which is a massive help.
Connor is currently studying A Level Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Computing at CRGS while he is also busy training in preparation for the team selection event in March which will select competitors to travel to the first Internationals of the year.
Anyone who would like to assist with Connor’s funding, email Caroline Byrne on firstname.lastname@example.org