Junior captain, senior champ: Molly interview

Posted by Tina Gardner on 05/12/2013
Molly finds a knee hook rest no-one else spotted. Photo: Mattheus Barefoot
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In October, climbing's bright young star Molly Thompson-Smith from London became the youngest ever climber to win a senior GB title, aged just 15. We catch up with Molly to find out more about her recent win, stepping up to compete at senior level and whether she wants to climb outdoors.

How does it feel to be Britain’s youngest ever senior GB champion, after winning both the female junior and senior titles at the British Lead Climbing Championships (BLCCs)?
It feels pretty special  to be honest it hasn't properly sunk in yet! I was so happy to finally be able to compete in the seniors so winning was even better.
 
Were you confident about winning the BLCCs or was it a surprise?
I definitely didn't expect to win it  there were lots of other strong juniors and seniors competing despite the previous champion, Shauna, not being there. It was just nice to be able to compete.
 
Were you disappointed there weren’t more senior female climbers in the BLCCs for the younger girls to aspire to?
I'm not going to lie I was slightly disappointed that there were only two senior females but it didn't take anything away from the competition  there were lots of juniors wanting to make a name for themselves in the senior field which was great.
 
What’s been your favourite competition moment this year?
Errmm, this whole year had been a great one even though the number of competitions was disappointingly low. I'd have to say the best moment was when all of team GB made the semis in the World Youth Championships (WYCH) in Canada... I'd never seen Ian [junior lead team manager Ian Dunn] so happy and I felt proud to be part of such a tight, close team who all knew how much the competition meant to each other. And to top that trip off, I made my third world finals which leaves me with a chance of completing my goal for my junior competition climbing of making every world final. 
 
The GB junior team are doing fantastically at the moment….. You’re team captain for the junior lead team, what does that involve?
Being captain is about just being there for your team members and manager when needed  i usually help point for people during their warm ups, help the newer and less experienced team members feel more comfortable at internationals and just generally be the person anyone can go to if they feel they want to talk about something or ask any questions. However, because the team is so comfortable with each other I'm really just here as another member of the team!
 
How did you get into climbing?
I had my seventh birthday party at my local wall, The Westway, and I loved it so I applied for a place at a local club. A year later, I was climbing once a week on a Sundays and I guess it just went on from there.
 
When you’re not climbing, what are you doing?
Usually school work, on my phone or watching Criminal Minds! I have loads of work to do but when I have the odd hour where I'm free I'm always watching an episode of Criminal Minds... It's a great show but extremely addictive!
 
What do your friends and school think of your achievements?
My friends and teachers are really supportive of my climbing and think it's awesome that I climb. I've even persuaded a friend at school to start climbing and now she climbs every weekend and loves it! 
 
Who inspires you?
It's hard to single out one person because there have been so many influential people that I have looked up to. But I have to say that without my parents and my coach Rob Russell I wouldn't be climbing! I try to focus on my climbing and how I can improve rather than aspire to be like someone else.
 
You met Dame Kelly Holmes at an event to promote the British Climbing Team in parliament last year. What did you talk about?
I did and it was amazing! I've loved Kelly Holmes for a long long time so it was really nice to actually talk to her. We talked about how I manage my school work and training and also about her climbing that she's done. 
 
What’s next on the competition scene?
I’ve just had my first taste of a senior World Cup in Kranj, Slovenia. It was an adventure getting there to say the least, but I managed to get to the semi finals which I wasn’t expecting. The finals were amazing to watch.  After the Youth Opens next week my season is pretty much over apart from the odd few local competitions.
 
Do you want to get into climbing outdoors?
Yesssss! I'm known for my reluctance to get outdoors and so I want to change the record! My coach has told me about all these places he's been to and they all sound so cool  I will definitely be going outdoors when I have a break from school as it's all pretty hectic at the moment!
 
Molly is one of the new team of BMC Ambassadors.  Molly says: “The BMC has allowed me to pursue my dreams of testing myself against the best in the climbing world in some of the most beautiful places and locations on the globe. The organisation itself inspires both young and old and is so supportive in the way that it makes you feel special and appreciated.”

WATCH: EYC 2013, EICA Ratho on BMC TV

Watch this and many more competition climbing films on BMC TV.



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