Schools

Joseph, 14, scales the heights with runners-up spot in national championships

By David Prior at

Super fit young climber Joseph Xiberras is aiming even higher after finishing second in the national indoor climbing championships.

The 14-year-old St Ambrose College pupil, who is the son of their popular former Spanish teacher David Xiberras, followed his runners-up berth in the British event with a hugely creditable ninth spot in the European open for the 14-16 age category.

He said: “That has earned me national selection and if I can do better or even hopefully win a European event, I’ll earn qualification for the World Championships in Canada at the end of the summer.”

Joseph, from Withington, trains under former world champion Mark Glennie for 15 hours a week on top class walls in both Manchester and Leeds and supplements his work on the wall with three times weekly core strength and finger strengthening exercises.

The 14-year-old St Ambrose College pupil is now hoping to qualify for the world championships in Canada

He said: “Even though we are originally from Gibraltar, famous for its rock, neither mum or dad have ever done any climbing, but they encouraged me to get involved because I was always climbing trees as a youngster… I was that sort of child, exploring and climbing and going where I shouldn’t and I suppose they wanted to channel what they saw.”

He added: “Anyone can climb to a certain level but to be good you have to develop your strength, agility and balance and through I have never been injured while climbing you need to show a certain amount of courage as well.”

Liam Crawford, his Head of House at St Ambrose in Hale Barns, said: “Joseph is one of the fittest young men I have ever taught and extremely determined, but he is also very modest and unassuming about his achievements. We all hope he’ll get to the top.”