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Eimir takes on the world

Gortin climber Eimir McSwiggan has risen to the heady heights of third best in the world following her latest competition

Gortin climber Eimir McSwiggan has risen to the heady heights of third best in the world following her latest competition

Gortin climber Eimir McSwiggan has risen to the heady heights of third best in the world following her latest competition.

Eimir took up climbing after she moved to South Korea in 2010 to teach English. Since then she has barely looked back as she climbed through the ranks of the sport and was picked to represent Ireland in major competition.

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Her success is particularly impressive considering she fell during an outdoor climb last June and broke her foot badly. Not even surgery and the insertion of pins has stopped her.

She is currently taking part in the Ice Climbing World Cup which involves a series of climbs with ranking points. Last year she was ranked number ten in the world.

After her first awesome climb in Colorado, USA she is in third place. From there she will travel to compete in Korea, Switzerland, Italy and finally France in the last weekend in January. From Colorado a clearly delighted Eimir spoke to the Chronicle.

“Maybe I got lucky! I am very pleased with the result. I climbed well so hopefully I can compete to the same level. I had to quit my job to do the whole World Series this year and got sponsorship from Sports NI so it is very exciting.

“Last year I reached the top ten which was a dream. I have been training for six months and want to give it everything to see how well I can do. It’s a good start anyway.”

Ice climbing will be an official Olympic sport in 2022 and next year will be a demonstration sport at the Winter games in South Korea.

Eimir added, “There will be a lot more younger people coming through. The big thing is giving it the commitment.”

The local ice climbing star plans to return to Gortin in February. She is currently Ireland’s only competitor but hopes to initiate an entire team to represent the country.

“The only sport I really did before was Gaelic football when I was younger but I grew up on a farm so I was always outdoors and loved it. I never really knew about climbing when I was at home, which I kind of regret now because I’ve discovered there is a really big climbing scene in Ireland.

“There are plenty of competitions on artificial structures as well.

“At the moment I am just focussed on this competition. It is a great opportunity to compete at the highest level and meet other climbers from around the world. They are a fantastic group of people.”

To view remarkable footage of Eimir in action, log on to the Facebook of UIAA – International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation.

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