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The Latest U.S.A. Rock Climbing Champion is a Badass Japanese-American Teen

Japanese climbing prodigy Ashima Shiraishi continues to show her exceptional skills and global dominance by recently grabbing the top spot at the 2017 USA Climbing Sport & Speed Open National Championships’ female sports category.

Over the weekend the feisty 16-year-old athlete was only one of two who were able to complete the women’s final climb, which is dubbed as the “problem” in the sport of climbing lingo, according to NBC news.

The competition, held at Movement Climbing + Fitness in Denver from March 10-11, saw the young reigning world champion maintaining her top position at each and every round to eventually win first place.

“As I was climbing, I had to focus on pacing myself and just relaxing and focus on the climbing instead of falling down and not being able to control my nerves,” the phenom climber was quoted as saying. “Once I latched the finish hold, I was so relieved and just happy. I couldn’t really believe it.”

A record number of participants totaling to 177 climbers joined the event. They were divided into two categories, sport (119 climbers) and speed (58 climbers).

While Shiraishi has been competing with adults since age 7, it was her first time to do so at the Sports Open Nationals.

“I didn’t feel any major differences, even though I was competing against people way older than me. I treat each competition the same way no matter how big it is. For this one, it was no different,” she said.

New York-born Shiraishi fell in love with the sport after watching people climbing in Central Park when she was just 6 years old.  

Among many of Shiraishi’s achievements include being the world’s youngest person to send V10, V13, and V14 boulders, which she accomplished when she was 8, 10, and 13, years old respectively. She is also the first woman and youngest person ever to solve the most difficult type of problem in the sport’s grading scale: a V15 boulder problem. She completed the feat after she climbed Horizon on Mt. Hiei in Japan last year just days before she turned 15.


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