16 year-old Jim Pope won his first European Youth Cup round in Mitterdorf, Austria last weekend. Despite never having made a podium position before, Jim went straight for the top spot, beating some tough competition and securing a fantastic 5th place overall in the series.
Jim qualified for the finals in 10th place, which meant he had all to play for in the finals, alongside teammates Aidan Roberts, Alex Waterhouse and Molly Thompson-Smith. Jim told UKC:
"It was really hot at the last EYC of the year in Mitterdorf Austria and I was relieved to make my second final of the year, qualifying in 10th place. On the day of the finals I warmed up early as I was first to climb then went out for viewing and read the route with Aidan Roberts. It was a long endurance route up the central steepest part of the wall. I read it well and knew exactly what I needed to do and climbed it just as I had read it."
Jim described the tense emotions of watching his fellow finalists on the route and waiting to find out his eventual ranking:
"Because of qualifying in 10th place I didn't feel any pressure about the finals and was able to feel relaxed when climbing the route and just enjoy it as any other position I ended up in would be a bonus. I came down happy with how I had climbed and then it was just a matter of sitting back and watching. It was a tense moment when the Czech climber reached the same hold as me but didn't move on from it for the plus point which I had. The next three climbers fell below him and I had won!"
Commenting on the experience as a whole, Jim told us:
"I was really pleased to have won my first European Cup and it's definitely a good confidence boost for the Arco World Youth Championships in a few weeks' time, I just hope I improve from last year!"
Jim also recently managed to have a good day out at Kilnsey, where he climbed The Bulge (aka Let Them Eat Jellybeans) 8a and Urgent Action (aka Under the Thumb) 8a+ - both second go as well as on-sighting The Ashes! In June, Jim redpointed his hardest sport route to date Helvetia 8b+/c at Shipwreck Cove (UKC News Report).
The last few months have been particularly successful for British youth competition climbing, with William Bosi taking Bronze in the European Lead Championships, Aidan Roberts becoming European Champion and Hamish Potokar taking Silver in the IFSC European Youth Bouldering Championships in France last month.
The GB Junior Lead Team placed 6th in the overall team ranking in the European Youth Cup in Mitterdorf, just behind France and ahead of strong nations such as Belgium, Germany and Russia.
Youth A Female
Hannah Slaney 15th
Rebecca Kinghorn 25th
Youth B Female
Kitty Morrison 16th
Pippa Watkin 33rd
Isabelle Adams 38th
Catrin Rose 40th
Molly Thompson-Smith 7th
Youth A Male
Jim Pope 1st
Aidan Roberts 9th
William Bosi 14th
Angus Davidson 31st
Youth B Male
Kieran Forrest 23rd
Alex Norton 28th
Samuel Oakes 29th
Alex Waterhouse 11th