|IFSC World Cup||Wins||Podiums|
Erin Sterkenburg (RSA) Age: 18
Erin Sterkenburg lives in Durban, South Africa. She started climbing in 2017 thanks to her school, which offered it as a physical education activity. Through regular sessions in the school climbing club, Erin fell in love with the sport and rapidly rose to the top of South Africa's growing climbing scene. Sterkenburg is a multiple national champion, having won the women's Under 17 category in the South African Lead and Boulder Event and the South Africa Open Combined Event, both in 2019.
IFSC Africa Continental Championships
After an uncertain year of postponements to the all-important African Championship in Cape Town, Sterkenburg kept a cool head and dominated the women's field, topping each discipline in both the qualifying and final rounds to become a worthy winner and earn herself a well-deserved Olympic Quota place. She told UKC at the time: 'The Africa Cup was such an amazing event to compete in. Although it was stressful, I had such fun climbing the routes and boulders and competing with all the other ladies. I am so excited to be going to Tokyo next year, it hasn't fully sunk in yet.'
'Years from now, people will look back on the 2020 IFSC African Championships in Cape Town as a fundamental milestone in the development and growth of Sport Climbing in Africa,' the IFSC commented ahead of the event.
Sterkenburg completes most of her Lead training outside on rock, as the only indoor facility near her is a bouldering gym. 'I really love doing some of my training outdoors, as it teaches me so much about the sport, and brings a different and fun aspect to training,' she told UKC.
Given her youth and lack of experience on the international circuit, Sterkenburg will likely view her participation in Sport Climbing's debut Olympics as a major opportunity to develop her skills as an athlete. We expect a 15-20th place finish, but with a spot on the world's biggest sporting stage as a teen, this is just the start of Sterkenburg's competitive career and a chance to raise the profile of Sport Climbing in Africa.