Teen rock-star climber sets her sights on Rus­sian goal

Hamilton Press - - FRONT PAGE - SPORT

Piron­gia rock climber Zeta Hittmann is walk­ing on air af­ter be­ing se­lected to com­pete at the 2018 World Youth Sport Climb­ing Cham­pi­onships in Rus­sia.

The 15-year-old, twice nom­i­nated for Waipa Net­works District Sports Awards Ju­nior Sportsper­son of the Year, is now work­ing hard to raise the $7500 needed to travel to Moscow with the 12-strong New Zealand U18 climb­ing team in Au­gust.

It’s no small ask as the Waikato Dioce­san Year 11 stu­dent jug­gles school work with an in­ten­sive train­ing sched­ule.

‘‘She climbs three times a week at the Ex­treme Edge in Hamil­ton and has joined an elite climb­ing de­vel­op­ment squad based at Mt Maun­ganui, where she trains on Fri­day nights and Satur­day morn­ings,’’ her mum Char­lotte said.

‘‘We’re in­cred­i­bly proud of her be­cause she’s also busy at school and do­ing re­ally well there too.’’

Zeta has loved climb­ing since she was a tod­dler and joined a kids’ club at the Ex­treme Edge while at pri­mary school.

In­spired by her Scot­tish grand­fa­ther, she be­gan com­pet­ing se­ri­ously at age 11 and has en­joyed ‘‘a very suc­cess­ful few years on the na­tional com­pe­ti­tion cir­cuit’’.

She qual­i­fied for the cham­pi­onships at the In­ter­na­tional Fed­er­a­tion of Sport Climb­ing tri­als in Welling­ton ear­lier this year.

She is now aim­ing to rep­re­sent New Zealand at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

Zeta sees this year’s cham- pi­o­nships in Rus­sia as a step­ping stone to achiev­ing that dream and is throw­ing ev­ery­thing she has into pre­par­ing for Moscow.

To help raise the thou­sands she needs, she and her fam­ily have or­gan­ised a fundraiser at Cam­bridge’s Tivoli Cin­ema at 7pm on May 17.

The fundraiser is hop­ing to fill two the­atres, where they are screen­ing The Great­est Showman, a mu­si­cal about the birth of show busi­ness, and Touch­ing the Void, a grip­ping sur­vival film about English rock climbers Joe Simp­son and Si­mon Yates.

The fam­ily is grate­ful to ev­ery­one sup­port­ing the event, in­clud­ing Anne Peters of Fayette Cater­ing in Cam­bridge, who is pro­vid­ing her ser­vices for free.

Waikato Dioce­san stu­dent Zeta Hittmann at the Na­tional Rock Climb­ing se­ries in Ro­torua in 2017. Zeta placed first in Lead Climb­ing and 5th in the Boul­der­ing com­pe­ti­tion.

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