19 year-old Hannah Slaney of Bristol became Britain's first World Youth Champion last week, winning Gold in the Female Junior category in bouldering at the annual World Youth Championships in Moscow, Russia. The 2018 British Bouldering Champion (and reigning British Lead Champion) finished her last ever youth competition in the best possible way.
Hannah qualified for the semi-finals in 4th and seemed overjoyed at the prospect of competing in the final in her last youth event: 'Made it through to finals in 4th place here in Moscow at my last ever youth World Championships!! So unbelievably excited,' she wrote on Instagram.
In the finals, Hannah was ranked 5th after the first problem, but quickly became a podium contender as she seemingly walked up problem 2 on her first attempt and left the majority of her fellow competitors in her wake without a Top. On number 3, Hannah once again calmly flashed the problem, but all was to play for on the last boulder. After narrowly missing out on a Top, Slovenian Vita Lukan required a bonus in fewer than 5 attempts to knock Hannah off the top spot. Tense times ensued, but Vita failed to hold the dynamic compression move to the bonus and Hannah was declared World Youth Champion.
Hannah told UKC:
'I was so excited to have made my first Youth Worlds finals in bouldering. I went out to have fun on the boulders and just enjoy being apart of it. So to win...somehow...was just crazy! It still doesn't feel real!'
'I felt relaxed when I was climbing, and I guess everything just went right. After flashing Bloc 3 I started to realise that a podium might actually happen, but never did I think I would be on top. A dream come true, for my last ever Junior comp!'
Hannah also competed in the lead event at the World Youth Championships, but missed out on finals, finishing 12th after qualifying for semi-finals in 2nd place. 'Guess you can't have it all!' she wrote on Instagram.
Last year, Hannah placed 6th in the Female Junior lead finals, but until now had never achieved a podium place in an IFSC event, despite performing well consistently over the years. Another highlight of 2017 was making finals at the senior IFSC Lead World Cup in Ratho, where she placed 7th. In March this year, Hannah finished 5th in the Studio Bloc Masters - an international event in Pfungstadt, Germany - alongside some of the world's best boulderers.
Having finished her junior career on a high note, Hannah hopes to achieve good results on the senior lead and boulder circuit. She will be competing in the last round of the IFSC Boulder World Cup in Munich, Germany this weekend.
GB Junior Bouldering Team coach Jack Palmieri commented: 'I'm delighted for Hannah, in isolation we talked about keeping expectations low in finals and just enjoying it, but I had a feeling she may come out and far exceed those expectations. To finish on top truly is a great achievement and I'm sure she will go from strength to strength in the seniors.'
Other Brits to win a World Championship include Simon Nadin, who was the first World Cup Champion in 1989 - which, the BMC argue, made him the first ever British climbing World Champion as there wasn't a world championship event at the time - and Fran Brown, who won her category in the World Paraclimbing Championships in Paris in 2012.
The World Youth Championships are still ongoing, but the British results are finalised. Complete results of the competition will be posted here once finalised.
Team GB Results
Tai Tewkesbury - Male Youth B - 17th
Daniel Smith - Male Youth B - 43rd
Emily Phillips - Female Youth A - 10th
Hamish McArthur - Male Youth A - 17th
Stephen Keir - Male Youth A - 25th
Gwyneth Uttley - Female Juniors - 30th
Jo Neame - Female Juniors - 37th
Hannah Slaney - Female Juniors - 1st
Maximillian Milne - Male Juniors - 11th
Kieran Forrest - Male Juniors - 23rd
Daniel Smith - Male Youth B - 45th
Hamish McArthur - Male Youth A - 19th
Stephen Keir - Male Youth A - 46th
Emily Phillips - Female Youth A - 15th
Hannah Slaney - Female Juniors - 12th
Jo Neame - Female Juniors - 23rd
Gwyneth Uttley - Female Juniors - 39th
Maximillian Milne - Male Juniors - 15th
Kieran Forrest - Male Juniors - 42nd
Daniel Smith - Male Youth B - 52nd
Emily Phillips - Female Youth A - 32nd
Hamish McArthur - Male Youth A - 56th
Stephen Keir - Male Youth A - 55th
Maximillian Milne - Male Juniors - 34th
Kieran Forrest - Male Juniors - 42nd
Jo Neame - Female Juniors - 38th
Gwyneth Uttley - Female Juniors - 42nd