Friday, 30 August 2019

My First Senior World Champs



My First Senior World Champs

I feel honoured to have competed alongside such a strong team of athletes
 (photo by Band of Birds)
Finally I have found time to sit down and write again! It’s been a very busy couple of months, with a Lead World Cup taking place on almost every weekend in July and the World Championships filling the majority of August. This has been the highlight of my year and what I have worked so hard to enjoy and while I am relieved to have some time at home with family, I have relished the chaos and commotion of my travels.
I did not get the results I was hoping for at the Lead World Cups, feeling that I had only fought hard in Chamonix, while in Villars and Brianรงon I felt that my results did not reflect my ability. However, in hindsight, I realise that my preparation for these comps had been far from ideal and the process of competing and being out in Europe for a month was nonetheless a great learning experience.
Being selected for the Senior Championships in Hachioji, Japan, was a dream come true for me. I have always been fascinated by Japanese culture and Tokyo has been top on my list of places to visit since I was very young. At the same time, one of my life goals was to compete at a Senior World Championship, so this invitation ticked a lot of my boxes. As the first Olympic selection event for climbing, this event was also particularly symbolic and I know that I will always be proud to say that I was a part of it.
It was with this sense of excitement that I entered the competition, but after failing to achieve even a zone hold in the bouldering qualification, my confidence was knocked to rock bottom and my enthusiasm turned to embarrassment. I had trained to pull hard on holds, but had instead been confronted with a series of coordination moves, jumps and presses that felt alien to my body. Why on earth had I saved up all this money and trained so hard, thinking I could contend with the best in the world? The evening after that first round was a struggle, but I knew that the fight was not over as I had two disciplines to come.
Fighting my way up the second qualifier in Lead
(photo by Band of Birds)
Having watched some of my teammates compete in the semi-finals and finals for bouldering, some of my enthusiasm was reinstated and I entered Lead with a fresh mindset-I would enjoy the routes, no matter how I performed and a good result would not be the principal goal, but a bonus to a fun experience. With this attitude I felt good on the routes and was pleased with the fitness I had retained through injury in previous months. The margin for error was fine, and I found myself very close to making semis. Of course this was in some ways frustrating, but on the whole I was just proud to have bounced back from bouldering.
In speed I had little expectation; this has always been by far my weakest discipline and I had only had time to train it for a week before travelling to Japan. However, I had made gains and was expecting a personal best. This I achieved on my first run, but my excitement to cut down my time even more got the better of me and I false started on my second run, discounting my first time. Obviously I was gutted about this, but I can still walk away knowing that I have made progress in speed; the training and experience was not for nothing and it will have helped my climbing and attitude in less obvious ways.
Reviewing the experience as a whole, I have learnt so much both in terms of strengths and weaknesses in my climbing and with regards to my ambitions moving forwards. Watching Shauna Coxsey qualify GB’s first spot at the Olympics struck a chord in me. This is a woman who has put so much into a dream and though it has not been a straight forward journey, she stuck with it and was rewarded. It is with this mentality that I wish to pursue my own dream of competing in the 2024 Olympics. I am excited for the journey ahead and can’t wait to see what the future holds.