Solihull entertainer and climber reaches semi-finals of Ninja Warriors TV show - The Solihull Observer

Solihull entertainer and climber reaches semi-finals of Ninja Warriors TV show

Solihull Editorial 3rd May, 2018 Updated: 3rd May, 2018   0

SOLIHULL’S resident jester and endurance expert triumphed over the infamous Ninja Warrior course on national television.

The ‘Ninjester’, better known as Monty Gupwell, has reached the semi-finals of the competition and is hoping he can make his family and the borough proud by reaching the grand final.

The ITV programme – the UK version of the famous Japanese show – puts contestants through their paces with perilous assault courses, gruelling endurance tests and impressive splash downs.

Monty, who is 44 and from Elmdon, put many younger athletes to shame by conquering the course – something he attributes in part to his years of circus training and rock climbing.

To make it through to the semi-finals he had to be selected above 30,000 people who applied to be on the show.

The lucky 3000 who are chosen, attend physically demanding auditions and only 125 get to run the course.

Monty said: “This was the second time I’d applied to appear on the show, unfortunately my first attempt ended in me knocking myself out at auditions and then breaking my elbow in training – so I was desperate to get my shot at running the course.

“I spent a about five months getting strong by bouldering at the Flash Climbing Centre so I was really confident that I was in the best shape I could be.

“On the day I was incredibly nervous. Despite appearing on the programme first I’d actually seen 24 other constestants run before me, seeing lots splash down into the water.

“So when my time came to stand on the start line I was feeling the pressure of having 2000 people all wondering what I’d do”.

Monty adopted the title The Ninjester because of his day job as a professional Jester – the Fool Monty Jester.

Monty told us he has performed and taught in excess of 500 children shows – mostly in Solihull.

He regularly practices rock climbing at Flash Climbing Centre in Solihull where he has recently taken up management after acquiring the centre in March.

The centre had its future thrown into jeopardy as it faced liquidation and closure in January this year.

But Monty and his friends purchased the centre and hope the new facility will open on May 19.

Monty said: “When I was a child I was always climbing things, I was obsessed.

“I also have ADHD so found it a really good activity to channel my energy.

“I have been climbing since I was 14 – I had a secondary school teacher who took our class climbing and I have been in love with it since then.”

He is a well known figure in the borough, having acted as chairman of Solihull Roundtable – a charitable organisation which offers a chance to participate in a range of activities from hiking to curry making masterclasses.

He says he wanted to beat the Ninja course as a symbolic gesture to his children – Oscar and Dominic – both of whom have Asperger’s syndrome – a form of Autism.

He said: “My children, like me, would be considered ‘different’ due to our conditions.

“By taking part in the show, I wanted to prove to my children and others that you can be different but be as able and as athletic as anyone else.

“And I’d like to think that’s what I did.”

The semi-finals will air on ITV1 this Saturday (May 5) and the Saturday after (May 12) at 6.30pm.

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