A teenager beat 17 competitors to be crowned champion as Liverpool hosted the second ever British Ninja Championships last Sunday.
Hollis Lansford, aged 18, beat competitors from across the country taking part at HC:Fit Ninja Training in Bootle.
The competition was formed last year following a recent boom in popularity of obstacle sports such as parkour, as well as the popular TV show Ninja Warrior UK.
The three-stage competition, designed to test both speed and technique on a range of apparatus and equipment, Lansford who was the only competitor to complete the “brutally hard” stage three.
— Stephen Edmond (@Stephen_Edmond1) December 3, 2023
Henry Cookey, owner of HC:Fit Ninja Training, said: “Hollis impressed me the most. He was incredible all the way through. He’s only young, I think he’s only just turned 18. He started around two years ago and has just massively flown through the ranks.
“Tommy Matthews who came second also only started competing around a year ago and has just blown it away. He’s done really well.”
Through winning the competition Lansford won himself a £100 cash prize and trophy, whilst second place Matthews also won a £50 prize.
It is still yet to be seen just how far Ninja Sports can go with many people still debating its authenticity as a sport, but Cookey believes there is huge potential.
He added: “Ninja Warrior as a TV show is a bit gimmicky but people who train Ninja are proper athletes and I’d like to see them get the respect they deserve.
“Everyone in the final today is good enough to get very far and compete internationally. I really think they can win medals.”
Cookey built his gym after competing on Ninja Warrior UK and seeing the benefit of these methods of training and competing.
He now owns an impressive 4000 square foot facility featuring the ninja obstacle course, a fully equipped gym, training area and gymnastic sprung floor designed to be “so much more fun than a normal gym.”
Following the success of this year, Cookey added: “I’d love to see more competitions like this but bigger. More people in, bigger venues, bigger stages, TV coverage.
“I’d love to showcase to people just how competitive this sport is, and I’m really excited about it.”
Plans are now well underway for more ninja competitions around the world, with popularity only going to increase.
“I can’t wait for next year to be even better and have more competitions. There are big things coming.”