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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 August, 2004, 08:04 GMT 09:04 UK
Tree champion aims for the top
Gavin Rodenhurst
Gavin Rodenhurst has always liked climbing, says his mother
Business is looking up for tree surgeon Gavin Rodenhurst - as he heads to America to compete in the World Tree Climbing Championship.

Mr Rodenhurst, aged 32, of Overton, near Wrexham, hopes to become the first Briton to claim the world crown.

He has just become British champion, and will race against the clock and rivals in a series of challenges in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

His parents and partner Cathy will be flying out to support him.

I never thought it would get to be something almost like an Olympic sport to him
Meg Rodenhurst, Gavin's mother
Mr Rodenhurst has been training hard for the competition, and says he is looking forward to the challenge.

"I won the British competition a few weeks ago down in Cirencester," he said.

"The final day there it was raining really hard, but with working in Wales I'm used to rain so it was probably to my advantage."

Mr Rodenhurst had to complete five heats during the opening day of the two-day competition in Gloucestershire, before booking his place in the grand final 24 hours later.

He said it was hard work.

Gavin Rodenhurst
Gavin Rodenhurst hopes to make the US final
"I throw a weighted bag on a thin line right over a fork in the top of the tree. I pull a thicker line, a climbing line, over the top, and simply climb up the rope.

"I am attached to the rope the whole time and slide my way up the tree.

"One of the challenges is an aerial rescue where you save a dummy out of a tree. You've got five minutes to do it."

His mother, Meg, said he had always loved climbing trees.

"I never thought it would get to be something almost like an Olympic sport to him," said Mrs Rodenhurst, "but to get to the world championships is the absolute ultimate.

"We will be there. My husband, me and his partner Cathy are flying out on Wednesday. So we're going to cheer him on."

The British champion said his main aim in the U.S was to get to the final.

"I want to get to the 'climb off' with the five other climbers.

"You get 20 minutes to access a big tree and work your way around.

"If I can get to the final I might have a chance - fingers crossed."

The World Championships are in Pittsburgh on 5 and 6 August.

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