GB climber Molly Thompson-Smith on World Championships in Japan
By Mark Ashenden
Last Updated: 03/09/19 8:39am
"Every move felt like a battle, and three minutes later I found myself stood on the floor, untying from my rope looking up wondering how and why it all felt so wrong?"
Tough lessons on the wall for GB climber Molly Thompson-Smith.
The 21-year-old Sky Sports Scholar opens up on her recent challenges at one of the biggest events on the climbing calendar as the 2020 Olympics edges closer.
"I only really like to go into a competition feeling prepared and sitting on the plane from Munich to Tokyo I certainly felt I was ready.
Probably the biggest event of the year, the World Championships was in Hachioji, Japan. Close to exactly a year before the 2020 Games, this event felt like the warm-up for probably the biggest sporting event on the planet.
I decided my time before the event would be spent better training lead in Innsbruck, the facility that provides the best training for that.
It was tough deciding whether more time acclimatising in Japan or more time training lead in this great facility would be more beneficial… so I tried to get as close to both as I possibly could!
I prioritised the good training and world-class routes in Innsbruck, but attempted to simulate the sleep/eating schedule I'd have to get used to in Japan.
This was a little difficult at the start, but after a few days I was going to bed in the evening and waking up between 4 and 5:30 in the morning, meaning I'd cut the jet lag down by several hours!
I felt the best I'd felt in a long time on the wall in Innsbruck, even despite the strange eating and sleeping habits. I was climbing efficiently and smartly; making good decisions on the wall and peaking in my conditioning sets.
I arrived in Japan five days before and settled straight into the new time zone with complete ease.
As I was only doing the lead discipline, I was able to support my team-mates and friends in the bouldering portion of the event for a few days.
I had two sessions, and felt light and floaty… I was completely surprised at how well everything was piecing together as I usually feel the effects of long travel and jet lag on my coordination, energy levels and finger health.
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Bye bye Japan!👋🏽🇯🇵 . Pretty sad I don’t get to watch most of these guys ( & @climbing_team_germany, my 2nd family💓) carry on competing over the next few days in speed/the combined. But I’ll be watching & cheering (/screaming at the stream)💪🏽🇬🇧🇩🇪 . And a big thanks to @leahcraneclimbing & @greenalltom for supporting us here☺️ . 📷: @bandofbirds . #gbclimbing #ifscwc #worldchamps #team #goodluck #skyscholarships
After what felt like a lifetime of watching other people compete, my qualification round finally arrived. I was itching to get on the wall and show myself what had come of all the hard work I'd been putting in at home.
I felt great in warm-up and even better on the wall.
After my first climb, I pretty much knew I'd guaranteed my place in the semi-final provided nothing went horrifically wrong.
I felt relaxed knowing I just needed to go climbing on the second route, and did exactly what I needed to do without much effort to advance to the next round in a comfortable 10th place.
The next day I felt just as good - if not better - warming up in the isolation zone for semis. I was amped, but relaxed. Nervous, but calm. Unsure what the route could be like, but ready.
Unfortunately it was one of those times when it just doesn't come together.
Every move felt like a battle, and three minutes later I found myself stood on the floor, untying from my rope looking up wondering how and why it all felt so wrong?
Frankly, it was an experience I was keen to forget and move on from as quickly as possible. But to move forward you have to accept disappointments and try and make them worthwhile by taking lessons as well as some positives from them.
I wasn't happy with my climbing in semis, but I definitely was in qualifications. I know I am in good shape so need to work on being able to show it more consistently.
Now I have a few weeks until the lead World Cup season resumes in Kranj, Slovenia which will be filled with hard trainings and mental preparation to make sure I've done all I can to ensure no mistakes or misfortunes are repeated in the future!
As always, a huge thank you to Sky and anyone following my journey for supporting me, even when the result is less than desirable!