Tuesday 9 July 2013

European Youth Cup, Sofia, Bulgaria

On Thursday 27th June I arrived in Sofia along with the rest of the GB Junior Bouldering Team for the first of the European Youth Cup of the season. The team that had been selected was: Nathen Phillips (Junior male), Me, Rachel and Gracie (Youth A), Sidonie (Youth B) and James (Youth B male). Tom and Michelle were also there as team coaches and chaperons.

As our flight was extremely early on Thursday we arrived at the hotel in Sofia with most of the day left. We decided to go to the wall so that we knew exactly where to go the competition.

As it was, the wall wasn't hard to find at all because it was in the main shopping centre! This was great because there were also plenty places to get food nearby, which ensured we were eating properly in the run -up to the comp.

The climbing wall was really cool and completely different from any other walls I've been to! There were grooves that lit up and changed colour and it wasn't shaped like a typical competition wall.
Photo of the wall from Tom's tweet

Another view of the wall.... Tom's twitter pic

On Friday we had a whole day to fill, so we had a look around Sofia at some quite impressive buildings that were worth seeing. The atmosphere was really relaxed which suited me because it meant I didn't get psyched out.

The day of the comp finally arrived, however I was able to have a leisurely morning because my category didn't start until the afternoon. Me, Gracie, Rachel and Nathen went down to the wall earlier that we needed so we could support Sid and James who climbed in the morning.

Watching and waiting (photo by Tom)

The warm -up wall was good so I was able to warm up properly. This meant I was feeling quite confident before I began climbing. The problems also looked good (but hard!!) which helped me to get psyched.

There were 8 problems in the qualifiers and each of them had a bonus hold. You could have a maximum of 5 attempts at each problem and we had 1 1/2  hours to climb them.

The problems were numbered depending on how hard they were (1's easiest, 8's hardest). I tried problems's 1 and 2 first and topped them on my first attempt. This gave me some confidence and helped me to enjoy the rest of the competition.

Later on I decided to try problem 8 - and managed to top it on my first attempt! I also got 7 out of 8 bonuses in 7 attempts.

Though my overall position (10th) wasn't great considering that there weren't many competitors, I'm feeling positive about my performance. This is because I think I've got the ability as I flashed the hardest problem. So I think my results will improve as I get more experience on European problems. Also I might have been able to top more problems if my tactics / timings had been better.
You can see some great photos of the comp here:

Overall, I think it was a great trip and I had a fantastic time! Thank you to Tom and Michelle for taking us and for all your help! Also thanks to the rest of the team for making it so much fun! :)

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