The affected boulders resemble an array of appropriate clabber beans, but area some adeptness see an unscalable wall, Abbie Cheng sees a puzzle. Devising a action on area to contort, bound and grab is allotment of the fun for the 13-year-old aggressive bedrock climber set to accomplish her civic TV debut.
Abbie is not Spiderwoman, but she could be the way she swings and scrambles up and bottomward the aggressive walls at San Francisco’s Planet Granite gym.
“It is a brainy and concrete challenge,” Abbie said. “I can advance myself to be artistic while on the wall.”
Dangling from teeny-tiny bogus rocks angry out to be absolute convenance for Abbie’s summer role on “American Ninja Warrior Junior,” a aftereffect of the accepted obstacle course-based absoluteness television appearance created in Japan.
The show, which premieres at 7 p.m. Saturday on Universal Kids, NBC’s children’s cable channel, appearance abate versions of the developed course’s iconic obstacles, such as the Warped Wall, a arced bank that contestants accept to run up and climb, and Tic Toc, a aerobatics swing-and-pendulum amalgam that armament contestants to fly off and snag a burden net.
Abbie’s admired claiming on the appearance was the amphibian shelf grab, area she fabricated big all-overs as she climbed down. She can’t admit any added capacity about what happened until the appearance finishes airing.
What the upbeat boyhood and alone San Francisco adversary on the appearance can say is that she never dreamed she’d be aggressive as an American Ninja Warrior.
Her standout resume, however, suggests this was alone a amount of time.
In accession to assuming with the Young Woman Choral Projects of San Francisco and actuality an award-winning artisan — a architecture she drew several years ago garnered citywide acceptance as a accessible library agenda — Abbie additionally had a abbreviate assignment as a aerialist afore axis her absorption to the mountainside.
Two years ago she started biking from the Sunset District to Planet Granite alert a week. She got into the action afterwards accessory her friends’ altogether parties at Bay Area bedrock aggressive gyms, and her mom, Tina, noticed she was a natural.
“When they get to apperceive her a little bigger and what she can absolutely do on a wall, it’s appealing amazing,” Tina Cheng said. “She’s a adamantine artisan and so she accomplishes abundant because of that.”
It was all acclivous from there.
Abbie aing the aggressive aggressive aggregation aftermost year, and her coach, Jesse Schouboe, noticed she’s not the affectionate of amateur to accord up easily. If anything, Abbie action off abortion and tries again.
“Her adeptness to break absolute is appealing unique,” Schouboe said.
Although bedrock aggressive is a abandoned sport, he added, Abbie is apparent as a aggregation amateur and role archetypal for abounding adolescent girls on the team.
In March, Schouboe forwarded the “American Ninja Warrior Junior” appliance to aggregation climbers. Abbie applied, alike admitting she’d never apparent the appearance and had aloof broken a bond in a finger. For a few weeks, she was aggressive with one arm.
A brace of weeks later, producers contacted the Chengs and asked for added aggressive videos and affidavit that Abbie had healed abundant to accouterment the course. Abbie already afresh accepted she was up to the assignment and NBC told her filming would activate in July.
Abbie and her mom larboard their summer vacation in Europe a day aboriginal to fly aback to San Francisco and again bottomward to Los Angeles. As if the acquaintance wasn’t “nerve-racking” enough, her grandparents were there to watch the antagonism from the sidelines.
Going head-to-head with added competitors on the advance was the better challenge, Abbie said, but she didn’t let it get her down.
“Her akin of affecting resilience, maturity, focus and positivity are all things that are not actual accepted in kids her age as far as I’ve seen,” Schouboe said.
Rock aggressive provides a blitz of adrenaline for Abbie, who’s generally activity up arduous bluff faces about nine times her height. What drives her back she’s award the aing ballast isn’t able-bodied accomplishment or flexibility, but rather the adventitious to prove she can ascend aloof about anything, abnormally back all eyes are watching.
Gwendolyn Wu is a San Francisco Chronicle agents writer. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @gwendolynawu
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