17-year-old Hamish McArthur earned his first ever international podium place at the European Youth Cup (Lead) in Imst, Austria last weekend. Hamish has consistently made finals (top 10) but has more often than not placed in the top 5.
Hamish's Dad, Angus told UKC:
'Looking back over 3 years of international results, you can see that he's been consistent and close to making a podium but never quite achieved it. He has placed 4th on countback and time previously.'
'Observing as a parent, I've witnessed him become more determined and committed each time he missed out. I've never seen him get deflated or demotivated by it. I think it will be a relief to have finally have had a reward for the hardwork and sacrifices he's made.'
The Youth A male category is notoriously difficult and competitive with the A climbers often outperforming the older category on routes shared with Juniors (18-19 year-olds). The Spanish climber Alberto Gines Lopez, who won in Imst, recently placed 5th in the senior Lead World Cup final in Chamonix. Angus commented:
'Hopefully the monkey off the back will allow Hamish to take a more relaxed approach, which he is aware will help him find the "flow" when lead climbing. I think he attempted to do this in Imst which is perhaps why he climbed so well through the qualifiers and in the final.'
Writing from Innsbruck where he is spending some time training for upcoming events, Hamish told UKC:
'I've consistently made finals but always just missed out on the podium. Whether this is simply bad luck or a mental block, it is certainly a relief to finally get on the podium. It feels long overdue and I hope to make up from the missed medals in future comps.'
In the last year, Hamish has competed in two senior Lead World Cups, one in Kranj at the end of 2018 and more recently in Chamonix this summer, where finished in the top half of a very strong men's field. Making the jump up to seniors is a tricky transition for most athletes, but Hamish took it in his stride. He commented:
'Stepping up to seniors wasn't as hard to adjust to as people had said to me. At the end of the day, you're competing against the route not the other athletes and if you get high enough on the routes you'll do well. It's a simple formula and far easier said than done! However it still feels so cool to be competing against guys I've watched on YouTube and idolised for years, especially when the gap between them and me isn't as large as I thought it would be. This inspires me to keep training hard, closing the gap with each session.'
In the coming weeks Hamish is training hard for the 2019 World Youth Championships, where he is hoping to continue his run of good form. He told UKC:
'My senior results have definitely increased my confidence for youth comps by teaching me how to climb and act like a professional. I hope to carry this forward into the Youth World Championships in Arco in late August. Here I aim to final in both lead and boulder (and hopefully pick up some more medals.) I've also got the senior World Cup in Kranj at the end of the season. I would like to improve on my performance last year where I missed out on semi finals by a single place, and of course keep gaining valuable experience.'
Hamish placed 2nd in the Senior British Lead Climbing Championships at EICA Ratho last year, behind World Cup finalist and Olympic hopeful Will Bosi.