Sports Minister Tracey Crouch came to Tunbridge Wells last week to try her hand at one of the new Olympic sports to encourage children in Kent to get active.
Visiting the Chimera Climbing Centre in High Brooms, she scaled the indoor climbing wall with the Kent and Sussex junior squad.
Her visit comes after the International Olympic Committee confirmed last month that sport climbing will make its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020.
Team GB made history during Rio 2016 when it became the first nation to increase its medal haul four years after hosting the Olympic Games.
Ms Crouch said: “Climbing is an exciting sport and a great way to get active – and it’s been fantastic to see young people enjoying the session.
“We want even more people to enjoy sport from an early age and build on the momentum from our huge success in Rio and London. With Sport Climbing due to make its debut at Tokyo 2020, I hope more youngsters will get involved and maybe become the next generation of Team GB stars.”
Andre Hedger, Chimera’s Managing Director, opened the centre last October with his partner Chris Searle.
He said: “The climbing centre is the newest in the south east. It is also home to an elite squad of juniors, some of whom will be aiming at the Tokyo Games and beyond.”
Matt Cousins, British Bouldering Champion, regularly climbs at the centre and helps set the climbing routes.
He said: “Climbing is a mass participation sport that will certainly get a boost as a result of its elevation to Olympic status. We’d really like to encourage as many people as possible to give climbing a go.”