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British universities & Colleges Sport

BUCS Nationals 2017: climbing review 22/02/2017

It was a Sheffield double at the Climbing Works on day two of BUCS Nationals as Billy Ridal and Jennifer Wood took the men’s and women’s crowns.

The home climbers topped the day’s preliminary results, faring best on the 25 qualifying problems, before returning in the evening to top the rankings once again.


Ridal, a winner on debut for Sheffield Hallam in 2016, led the University of Glasgow’s Hamish Potokar and Eoin Acton in the preliminary rounds, with 241 points to 224 and 219, respectively.

University of Sheffield’s Connor Byrne made up the four finalists with a total of 213, and made his way on to the podium after the final four problems, leapfrogging Acton with Potokar remaining in second place.

Ridal took an early advantage in the final, being the only man to solve the first problem, but when Potokar completed the final problem the pressure was on the home favourite.

Little did he know that by getting to the first bonus mark he had already tied with Potokar and sealed victory on count back to the qualifiers, meaning that even in failing to solve the final problem, he still took home gold.

“It feels really good, it was a bit different to last year as I was a lot more stressed out, but it was better than last year,” he said.

“Last year was a bit unexpected, I was new to it and I did not know what the field was like, but this year I had a lot more expectations of myself so it was really satisfying to get it done.

“It feels amazing performing in front of that crowd, it was probably the best crowd I've had at the competition.

“This is where I train, this is my home wall and I know everybody here, so it’s really cool to get to compete in front of them, and a bunch of my friends came down to watch, too, so it was really nice.”


In the women’s competition Wood finally got her hands on a gold medal after finishing second in each of the last three years.

She finished one point ahead of Tara Hayes in qualifying, with Edinburgh’s Ajda Remajkar a further eight back on 184, seven ahead of Worcester’s Natasha Allcock.

And Wood maintained her advantage in the final, with Remajkar moving up to second, Hayes settling for bronze and Allcock out of the medals in fourth.

“I’m very happy, four years of doing the comp and I’ve been second every year, so it’s nice to finally win, and great to see the team do well, too, so I’m really happy,” said final year biochemistry and microbiology student Wood.

“I clung on pretty hard to some of those problems.

“They were super cool problems in the final. It was a hard qualifiers and the second problem was super fun, it was nice to get that.

“It’s always a good crowd at the Climbing Works. The commentating was great this time and it brought the crowd up, so it was really nice.

“I’m considering a PhD, so I might be back next year, but I could just end on a high.”


In the team competitions University of Sheffield walked away with both titles, with Sheffield Hallam claiming two silver medals, while Glasgow took men’s bronze and Edinburgh the women’s.

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