Plymouth's Alex climbs high at Euros in memory of his grandpa
CITY climber Alex Waterhouse put a family bereavement to the back of his mind as he recorded an impressive result at the European Championships.
Fifteen-year-old Waterhouse heard about the death of his grandfather while he was travelling with the Great Britain Junior Climbing Team to France.
Despite that, the Devonport High School student pulled out a seventh place overall at the championships which gives him a world ranking of 15.
Waterhouse's dad, Phil, said his son had shown 'immense maturity to cope with the news and was calm, composed and 100 per cent focused when his turn came to climb'.
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The teenager finished 10th on his first qualifying route and needed to top his second route to book a place in the final.
Accompanied by a wave of sound from the Great Britain support, he produced one of his best-ever climbs and topped out with ease to thunderous applause.
The climb placed him eighth out of the 10 qualifiers, and meant he would climb third in the final.
Coming out for the final, Waterhouse appeared strong and focused.
He climbed past the point the first two climbers had reached with consummate ease.
But moving into the next hard section, he missed a clip and wasn't able to rectify his mistake in time and was called off the route.
His dad said: "His final position was seventh which, in a field off 43 of Europe's top climbers was outstanding."
Waterhouse dedicated one of his best climbs to his grandfather.
He said afterwards: "Making a mistake was disappointing, but the weekend was all about my grandpa.
"He would have been pleased with seventh, so I am too, but next time I plan to do better."
Waterhouse's world ranking of 15th is despite the fact he has only competed in three of the possible seven qualifying events.
He hopes to further improve at the last European Youth Cup round in Slovenia at the end of November.
Meanwhile, the city schoolboy, who comes from Horrabridge, built on his performance at the Europeans by winning two titles at the Irish Lead Climbing Championships in Dublin.
Waterhouse headed from France to Ireland where he won the Youth A category and held off strong opposition to take the Senior Champion award for 2012.
He was one of only two climbers to top both qualifying routes and went into the final level with Scotland's Robbie Phillips.
In a tense final, Waterhouse was the only climber to top the route.
Waterhouse, who hopes to gain an Olympic spot if the sport is allowed in the Games in the future, trains at The Barn Climbing Centre in Milton Abbot and at High Sports in the Plymouth Life Centre.