Dame Kelly climbing with the BMC at Stanage. Photo: Alex Messenger

Dame Kelly climbing with the BMC at Stanage. Photo: Alex Messenger

An Olympic runner turned climber is backing the bid to have climbing included in the 2020 Games.

Dame Kelly Holmes, a double gold medal winner, has given her support to the campaign by the International Federation of Sport Climbing for inclusion in the Olympiad, which will be held in Istanbul, Tokyo or Madrid.

The British Mountaineering Council has also lent its support.

Eight sports under consideration will be chosen for the Olympic programme. Following presentations from each sport on 29 May, the International Olympic Committee executive board will recommend which sports should go through to the final IOC vote in September.

It is expected the shortlist will be reduced from eight to three on 29 May.

Dame Kelly, who won gold in the 800m and 1,500m events at the 2004 Athens Olympics said: “The proposed triathlon format for sport climbing’s bid for the 2020 Olympic Games sounds like a great concept.

“I know climbing is very popular with young people and the format fits perfectly with the Olympic motto of Faster, Higher and Stronger.

“I know the case for inclusion in the Olympic Games is becoming tougher all the time. It could go down to the wire when the final choice is made by the IOC in September.

“Hopefully the general public will see that sport climbing has a big future ahead.”

The Kentish athlete has climbed with the BMC at Stanage in the Peak District. She then went on to complete a five-day course at Plas y Brenin in north Wales. Dame Kelly has also attended a reception for the GB Climbing Team at Westminster.

Sport climbing involves the use, either outdoors or indoors, of fixed bolts for protection, rather than the fixing of the climber’s own protection as they ascend in traditional climbing.