Leah Keam is already the NSW under 13 ninja warrior champion and now she is eyeing off the national title on her own training grounds.
Leah, aka ‘Light it Up Leah’, will be competing this weekend at the Ninja Warriors Regional National Championships in Boggabri.
This will be the Gunnedah teenager’s second attempt at the nationals after competing in Brisbane previously. Leah’s competition will feature some of the best in Australia but intense training has prepared her for this.
The sport is about strategy as much as it is athleticism and Leah makes sure she is paying attention.
“I do not just look at [the obstacle] and go ‘I can do that’…. I think ‘what is a way I can do that?’” she said.
“I am always making sure I am watching everyone [going before me] and all their little tricks they try because there is always someone who is extremely good at a hard obstacle.”
Competitors will get a walkthrough of the course but there is no practice before the timer starts.
If she tops her age category this weekend, it could mean an invite to compete in America.
A new course will be set up at Boggabri, so there will be no advantages for young Leah.
She is tall for her age group which is a disadvantage when she needs to be conscious of her feet touching the ground.
Leah was first introduced to the sport almost three years ago when Cruze Morley (The Boggy Ninja) advertised school holiday classes.
She and a friend were eager to run the obstacle course after watching the Australian Ninja Warrior television series and Leah was a natural.
“I had a bit of strength from the sports I had done before … and [Cruze] had seen I was a bit up there, so he offered me a spot in his training group,” Leah said.
“After a few lessons I was as good as everyone else who had been there for a year and I have just gone from there.”
Leah’s dream is to be on the television show Australian Ninja Warrior.
She has a few years left to train for the ‘Young Guns’ category for competitors aged 16-17 years.
“It is a lot of upper body strength and a lot of commitment and … it is a good sport for people my age to keep fit and have fun at the same time,” Leah said.
She trains at the Boggabri academy two to three times per week and at home most days.
Leah’s training has given her great strength and calloused hands, all the better to grip with.
When swinging from one bar to the next, or a lache in parkour terms, her record is 3.15 metres.
Many of the young people involved with the sport started with a school holiday class, just like Leah, who now also assists Morley in classes for children under nine.To order photos from this page click here