Were you following? After the GB success at the World Championships this August, the spotlight moved to our GB youth athletes at the annual IFSC Youth World Championships in Arco, Italy. The entire week was packed with world class climbing. Here's ten days condensed into one article:
The week kicked off with a colourful procession of national flags marching through the streets of Arco, eventually gathering under the towering lead walls that would become beacons of the Championships over the next ten days.
All the national flags at the Youth World Championships opening cermony. Photo: IFSC / Sytse van Slooten
The Youth Championships are split into three age categories: Youth B (14/15 years old), Youth A (16/17 years old) and Junior (18/19 years old). Nineteen GB climbers competed in ten days of non-stop climbing across Speed, Boulder and Lead. Here's what happened:
The week kicked off with Lead and eight GB athletes making it through to their Lead semi-finals, totalling the highest amount of GB team members ever in a semi-final at a Youth World Championships! Four athletes then made it through to the finals to tackle the demanding routes and tough barrel overhangs, with Emily Phillips and Hamish McArthur narrowly missing out on a podium finish in Youth A. Meanwhile in Youth B, Toby and Gwen put in excellent performances on some steep and technical routes where they both managed to improve their position from the semi finals, both finishing in 6th.
Gwen Morgan - Youth B Female - 6th place
Louise Flockhart - Youth B Female - 41st place
Matilda Collins - Youth B Female - 56th place
Toby Roberts - Youth B Male - 6th place
Joe Xiberras - Youth B Male - 12th place
Alifie Duckworth - Youth B Male - 32nd place
Emily Phillips - Youth A Female - 4th place
Hamish McArthur - Youth A Male - 5th place
Finley Wood - Youth A Male - 29th place
Daniel Smith - Youth A Male - 31st place
Zoe Peetermans - Junior Female - 20th place
Thea Cameron - Junior Female - 17th place
Kieran Forrest - Junior Male - 12th place
Gwen Morgan on the Lead wall. Photo: IFSC / Sytse van Slooten
With the temperatures soring in Arco, the team turned their attention to Bouldering and GB soon achieved a semi-finalist in each youth category across the entire competition. Gwyneth Uttley narrowly missed out on semi-finals finishing 21st in her final Junior year. 2019 British Bouldering Champion Holly Toothill also narrowly missed out on a place in her Junior finals placing 7th overall as did Emily Phillips in Youth A.
In his finals, Hamish McArthur had an incredible flash on the last route, allowing him to seize second place in Youth A. Max Milne came out all guns blazing in the Junior semis and achieved four tops in six attempts, placing him firmly at the top of the leaderboard and straight into the final. Once there, he made it to fourth after a valiant effort showing determination right up to the last second:
Gwen Morgan - Youth B Female - 9th place
Louise Flockhart - Youth B Female - 33rd place
Matilda Collins - Youth B Female - 46th place
Joe Xiberras - Youth B Male - 13th place
Toby Roberts - Youth B Male - 15th place
Leo Skinner - Youth B Male - 45th place
Emily Phillips - Youth A Female - 7th place
Hannah Smith - Youth A Female - 33rd place
Hamish McArthur - Youth A Male - 2nd place 🥈
Tai Tewkesbury - Youth A Male - 33rd place
Daniel Smith - Youth A Male - 59th place
Holly Toothill - Junior Female - 7th place
Gwyneth Uttley - Junior Female - 21st place
Zoe Peetermans - Junior Female - 35th place
Max Milne - Junior Male - 4th place
Aiden Dunne - Junior Male - 43rd place
Hamish McArthur on the Boulder wall. Photo: IFSC / Sytse van Slooten
After having secured fourth place in Lead at the start of the Championships, Emily Phillips' strong performance in her Speed category (23rd) put her in a solid standing for the Combined rankings. Then with her added seventh place in Boulder, Emily was able to finish in an amazing third place in the overall combined rankings! For her first Youth World Champs, Louise Flockhart - who last month won a place to the Ticket to Rockstars final in Stuttgart - had a great week being one move off of making the Boulder semis in Youth B, bagging a PB in Speed and finished 17th overall in Combined.
Emily Phillips - Youth A Female - 23rd
Joe Xiberras - Male Youth B - 22nd (with a PB of 8.9 seconds)
Toby Roberts - Male Youth B - 41st
Louise Flockhart - Youth B Female - 32nd
Emily Phillips - Youth A Female - 3rd Place 🥉
Louise Flockhart - Youth B Female - 17th place
Joe Xiberras - Youth B Male - 8th place
Toby Roberts - Youth B Male - 9th place
Emily Phillips on the speed wall. Photo: IFSC / Sytse van Slooten
BMC Competitions Manager Zoe Spriggins commented: "The IFSC Youth World Championships was a fantastic, well organised event in a great location. All GB Climbers gave 100% and the BMC couldn’t be more proud of the efforts. The results show the future of GB Climbing is bright and I for one cannot wait to see what is achieved next year!"
In all, the YWC 19 was a fantastic event put on by the IFSC, and the host FASI were so friendly and welcoming. GB Climbing would like to thank the volunteer coaches Ian Dunn, Liam Briddon and Zoe Spriggins who put in so much of their time and support to help the team through the week. Plus thanks go out to all the team sponsors Duco, Clifbar and Mountaineering Scotland. You can view the full set of results on the IFSC website
Arco Rock Masters
To conclude the epic climbing bonanza that was the Championships, a legendary battle of the Rock Masters took place. This is a unique competition format that was born out in Arco, and it saw top Senior athletes battle it out one-on-one on the wall on identical extremely difficult routes. It was a spectacular mix of Speed and Lead where the Masters complete the 25m route at grade 8a, with 2019 Rock Master Champion Jakob Schubert completing it in under a minute!
GB Climbing Senior team members, and current Olympic qualifiying hopefuls, Will Bosi and Molly Thompson-Smith were among the big names on the wall. Molly finished in an impressive second place 🥈 against Mia Krampl of Slovenia.
GB Climbing is supported by the BMC and Mountaineering Scotland.
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HIGHLIGHTS: 2019 La Sportiva British Bouldering Championships