By Timothy Leong
He is considered the toughest of all ninja warriors and US superstar Drew Drechsel is bringing star power to the back blocks of Osborne Park as Ninja Challenge League (NCL) finals begin in Perth.
Drechsel will test his skills with 55 of Australia’s top ninjas including competitors in the hit TV series Australian Ninja Warrior in a three-stage obstacle course built at the factory-style Ninja Academy just north of Perth.
“It’s my first time in Australia, so I’m very excited to be in Perth, especially with this glorious weather,” Drechsel said.
“I’ve travelled all over the world competing as a ninja warrior, and I’ve heard the ninja warriors in Australia are pretty formidable so I’m looking forward to checking out their skills.”
Dreschel, who owns two gyms in the US, said the Ninja Academy was the largest “ninja-only” facility he has ever seen.
“The obstacles are to scale, they’re legit, they’re difficult – I love it,” Drechsel said.
Ninja Academy owner and 2017 Australian Ninja Warrior semi-finalist Dave Ravi expects an intense competition and is curious to see how the competitors will cope with the grueling new course.
“We’ve got some really difficult obstacles we are throwing in there – we will definitely be challenging the better athletes,” he said.
Finalists qualified by completing courses and competitions throughout the year.
“The league is a ladder, there is a leaderboard and the top 50 per cent go through to qualify, so you have to compete regularly and earn your place,” Ravi said.
Connecticut-based Dreschel told The Bounce that anyone can be a ninja if you have the right mindset.
“The really cool thing about this sport is that you don’t need to be a certain level or have a certain amount of experience,” he said.
“We’ve seen rookies every year come out of nowhere, first time stepping on the course and blow everyone away.
“The ninja warrior sport is so unique, and it brings with it a very unique set of skills.
“Even though I’ve been doing this for a long time, you have to make sure you complete each course perfectly, as there’s simply no room for mistakes.
“One small error in judgement can be fatal if you’re in the middle of a competition.
“I’m really looking forward to checking out the brand-new obstacle course Ninja Academy is putting together for us – so far, it looks amazing.”