August 16, 2013, Central Saanich, BC  - With over 450 athletes in attendance, including the 48-member U.S. team, the exuberant Mexicans and host Canada, the 2013 International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) World Youth Climbing Championships kicked off Thursday evening with an impressive opening ceremonies that included a performance from the Aeriosa Dance Society.

Teams began arriving at the Boulders Climbing Gym around 4:00 pm to register for the event and many stood in awe in front of the Boulders 18-metre high competition climbing wall, eagerly trying to sneak a peek at the routes they will be climbing on Friday when qualification begins.

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A member of Team Mexico proudly shows his country’s flag at the Opening Ceremonies of the 2013 World Youth Climbing Championships (Photo: Christian J. Stewart )

Coaches then attended a technical meeting and following that everyone began gathering for the opening ceremonies. 

After a brief welcome from emcee Sheila McCarron and greetings from a number of dignitaries including Central Saanich Mayor Alistair Bryson, Mr. Helmut Knabl, President of IFSC, welcomed the crowd, and in Olympic style, declared the event open.

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Central Saanich Mayor Alistair Bryson welcomes the crowd to the Boulders and the World Youth Climbing Championships (PhotoL Christian J. Stewart )

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IFSC President Helmut Knabl declares the 2013 World Youth Climbing Championships open (Photo: Christian J. Stewart )

The Canadian National anthem was then sung by Harmony Now and then a single athlete from each country paraded on to the stage to represent each of the 32 countries in attendance at the event.

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Harmony Now sings the National Anthem at the Opening Ceremonies (Photo: Christian J. Stewart )

A display of First Nations dancing and drumming was then provided by the Our Culture Matters Dance and Drum group and then the athletes and other spectators in attendance were treated to an amazing aerial ballet and dance presentation by the Aeriosa Dance Society, that saw their dancers do a range of acrobatic maneuvers high up on the Boulders wall.

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The Our Culture Matters Dance and Drum group provided traditional First Nations dancing during the opening ceremonies Thursday night (Photo: Christian J. Stewart )

Climbing at the competition gets underway with qualifying rounds for the lead/difficulty climbing category taking place all day Friday and Saturday beginning at 9:30 am, while the exciting speed competition runs all day Sunday with the final rounds beginning at 4:30 pm.

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The Aeriosa Dance Society performed an amazing aerial ballet on the Boulders climbing wall during the opening ceremonies Thursday night (Photo: Christian J. Stewart )

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Julie Carr and Cara Siu from the Aeriosa Dance Society finish their performance at the World Youth Climbing Championship opening ceremonies – (Photo: Douglas Bain) 

Semi-finals (9:30 am) and finals (4:30 pm) in difficulty take place Monday, with the awards and closing ceremonies at 7:30 pm.

In addition to the climbing competition, a marketplace will be set up at the venue, featuring local foods and crafts for everyone in attendance.

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Thirty-two countries are represented at the World Youth Climbing Championships (Photo: Christian J. Stewart )

Admission to the competition events Friday through Sunday is free, while there is a $5 admission for the semi-finals and finals on Monday.

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The Boulders Climbing Gym in Central Saanich will be a busy place this weekend as they host the 2013 IFSC World Youth Climbing Championships (Photo: Christian J. Stewart )

For more information please head to http://climbtheboulders.com/world-youth-championships/

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