World University Championships As Written By Our Sponsored Athlete Jennifer Wood

With the recent addition of sport climbing to the 2020 Olympic Games schedule, combined events such as the University Internationals are a great way to get a taste of this new, proposed format. This year the World University Championships took place in Shanghai, China, a pretty exciting experience for all of us.

GB took a team of four athletes out to compete; Connor Byrne, Billy Ridal, Luke Dawson and myself (Jennifer Wood). After a day of acclimatising, recovering from the long flight, and exploring the amazing city of Shanghai the event kicked off with the speed climbing competition. None of us are speed specialists but we all tried our best against the regular World Cup athletes. The three boys all managed to get PBs and I scraped into the final in 14th but, unfortunately, in the knock-out finals I was against the fastest women this year and I tried so hard I fell off meaning I finished the event in 16th place.

The next day was very busy with lead qualifiers shortly followed by the boulder qualification. We all made lead semi-finals (top 26) with Connor and I in joint first after topping both climbs. Billy, Connor and myself also made boulder semi-finals (top 20), making for another busy day on Thursday with lead semis again followed by boulder.

The boys all put in great efforts on their semi-final lead climb, but unfortunately the extremely strong field, including many regular World Cup finalists, meant none of them made finals. I was very happy to scrape into finals (in 7th place) despite a slip on my route.

Boulder semis went very well for me and two quick tops meant I made finals in 3rd place. Unfortunately for Billy he missed out on finals by only two attempts.

By Friday I was feeling pretty tired and couldn’t climb my best in lead finals but I am still proud of a 7th place and it was a great experience to compete in a final at such a high standard. Luckily I got the rest of the afternoon off before competing in the boulder finals the following morning.

Despite it being the 5th consecutive day of competition, I really enjoyed the boulder finals and feel I climbed as well as I could under the circumstances. I was very pleased to come 5th against such strong women. I was also one of only two women to make all three finals, though my lower speed result meant I finished in 4th in the combined rankings. I’ll be working on my speed this year!

Although the competition was very demanding, we all had a great time competing against the World’s best students and found it a great stepping stone from junior to senior internationals. It’s definitely a good incentive to do a PhD.

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