GB Team Member and International Competition Climber
Thank you to Jo, for letting us interview her during the Battle of Britain 2018 at the Depot in Manchester, on 20th October.
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Jo Neame, I’ve been climbing for around 10 years, I’ve been competing for GB for about 3 years. My favourite discipline is leading but I like bouldering as well.
What was your first climbing experience?
I was invited to a kids party when I was 9 and I really enjoyed it. It was like the funnest thing I’d ever done. So then I joined local kids club at The Castle and it all started from there.
How did you know that climbing was your thing?
It just felt so natural. One of the things I’ve never been that good at with sports is like hand-eye co-ordination, but with climbing it just felt more like playing. I always loved hanging on monkey bars and stuff when I was little, so yeah it just felt like playing really. Still does (laughs).
Where is your favourite outdoor climb?
That’s really hard to say as I haven’t done that much outdoors and I want to do a lot more but my favourite trip was to Arco and we went to Massone and I climbed an outdoor 8a there and it was really fun.
What has been your proudest climbing moment?
Probably this year when I made my first EYC [European Youth Cup] final and I came 5th. I was actually one move off podiuming in Europe, which I was really proud of.
What are your ambitions?
I guess this is like a stereotype but the Olympics and World Championship final, possibly even podium. That’d be really cool. Also a 9a hasn’t been climbed by a British female yet, that’d be really cool.
Lead, Speed or Boulder and Why?
Lead because I hate speed, I’m rubbish at it. With lead I always feel a greater sense of achievement when I finish a project on lead. I think you can put together really cool boulders and get a route that’s more than one boulder problem. So yeah, lead.
What are your most liked and hated healthy foods?
That’s interesting. So I’m a massive fan of fish. I’d say my favourite healthy food is seafood, prawns. I love prawns, always eat them, at comps. Least liked healthy food – that’s really hard. I don’t eat meat because I’m pescatarian. I’ve never really liked meat.
If not climbing, what sport would you be doing?
When I was little until I was about 7 I did gymnastics. That was really fun. Definitely gymnastics, I love all that flexibility stuff. I think it looks really cool.
Give us an inspiring quote (either yours or someone else’s).
My favourite quote comes from Ellie Howard, the coach, who spoke to me right before I got on my qualifying lead routes at the World Youth Championships in 2017. She told me to “Climb like it doesn’t matter at all and yet it’s the most important thing in the world.”
By this she was referring to managing the pressure I put on myself to perform well while using it to drive me to fight as hard as I could. I came down from both qualifying routes feeling as if I couldn’t have got a move further and since then I’ve always tried to think in this way before I compete.