16 year-old Molly Thompson-Smith, Team GB's Junior Lead Captain, recently took gold at this year's only European Youth Cup (EYC) event held in Imst, Austria.
Molly's win at the EYC came as a surprise to her due to the event falling during exam period and with Molly sitting her GCSE's, she wanted to ensure that she did well in these exams. This meant that Molly could not train as much as she would have liked, and in addition to this she became ill during the lead up to the event.
During the Qualifiers, Molly had a mixed time on the two routes, qualifying in joint third place on the first route. However, the second qualifying route did not suit her, as Molly commented:
"The second route did not go as well for me: it was long and pumpy and being tired and unfit left me in joint 10th on that route. However, it was enough and I made my way into finals in 8th place."
Waking up on the day of the Finals, Molly felt tired but looked forward to competing again and fortunately had fellow Brit, Hannah Slanley for company in isolation. Despite being one of the first to climb, Molly managed to hang through a coughing fit and reach a high-point that no later competitors could match. Molly commented on the Finals:
"Despite all the nerves, pressure and coughing, I managed to just enjoy the route when I was climbing. I surprised myself by getting pretty high up but thinking the others would get higher. Seven climbers later I found myself still holding the high point and with my first European Youth Cup victory. I was confused but it felt amazing!"
Molly also discussed what she wished to achieve within the remainder of the year:
"Looking to the rest of this year, I am aiming to make finals again in the European Youth Championships in Edinburgh later this month and hopefully make the top 5. As well as this, I’d like to make my 4th World Youth Championships final in New Caledonia. Outside of competition climbing, I’d like to become familiar with rock!!"