Friday 18 October 2013

European Youth Cup Bouldering - Laval

The last competition of the bouldering European Youth Cup was held in Laval in France on the 12th and 13th October. A bigger team than usual travelled out because the multi-discipline climbers from the lead team came as well. We flew out to France on Thursday and, after a longer drive than we expected, arrived at the hotel feeling rather tired. Luckily we had the whole day on Friday to rest before the comp began on Saturday.

After a lie-in and some breakfast, we went into Laval where we had a team CAC photo. There was then some time to explore the town and do a bit of shopping before we had to be back for the opening ceremony in the evening. After listening to some french speeches and going up on the stage when our country was called, it was over.
The team on stage in Laval (photo tweeted by OnThisROC)

However before dinner we had a great team talk from Nathan and Tom where they gave us really useful advise for the competition the following day.

On Saturday morning we headed down to the wall early so that we would be warmed up and ready for when the competition began. The youth A and Junior girls climbed the same problems at the same time which meant we had 2 hours to climb the 8 problems instead of 1 1/2 hours.

The Youth A and Junior Qualifiers

Before the competition began, I wasn't feeling that positive as all 8 boulders looked really hard. Because of this, I chose to climb one of the easier ones first to build up my confidence. This got me off to a good start, and by the end of 2 hours, due to my determination and the team's support I'd topped 6 of the 8 boulders. I was very pleased with my performance and thought it was a good end to the season. My overall position was 9th (still no final!) but I thought I performed better than I had done previously. I also finished the season with a European and World ranking of 7th for my age group.Rachel, Gracie, Molly and Jen also performed well - either made improvements from previous rounds or performed well in their first bouldering European.

It was still the morning, so the Youth A and Junior male categories were still to come. In the Youth A boys, Team GB had 2 competitors - Hamish and Alex. Both climbed well and Hamish was unlucky not to have made the final as he had to pull out due to injury.

As the afternoon approached, Nathan was still to climb (male Junior) and the whole team was ready to support him. There was a lot of pressure because it was his last junior competition, however, as always, he performed amazingly and comfortably qualified for the finals in 5th position. Later on in the evening, the Youth A and Junior finals began - and in the male junior category wee had Nathan to support. Throughout the final, Nathan climbed really well - topping all of the boulders! |This meant he was guaranteed at least second position even though there were still more people  to climb! As the last climber came out.we all knew he had to top it to beat Nathan. He fell off once....then again....and again....and anther time! The timer ran out as he was on the boulder so we all knew that if he fell off, Nathan would get the gold...... and he did! Nathan won - the first European Gold for GB in years! It was an amazing effort and got the team psyched for the following day when the youth B categories would be competing.

On Sunday the youth B categories were raring to go. after another early start, the competition began. Team GB had some more fantastic performances, with William and Pete making the finals and Ed and Alexia just missing out. This meant that our role of supporting still wasn't over. Despite most of us pretty much losing our voices, we still had plenty of cheering to go.

Yet again the finals were amazing and, yet again, we were the loudest team cheering. Pete and William gave a great show and climbed really well, finishing in 5th (Pete) and 3rd (William)! Another podium for GB!

We travelled back on Monday all feeling positive about how much the team has progressed this year.

Thank you to Tom, Michelle, Clive, Claire and the rest of the team for making it an awesome trip! And well done to Nathan and William for their result ..... bring on next year!

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