Vegan Tim Shieff returned to Ninja Warrior UK and showed the incredible skills which have brought him success.
In the first round he set a record by completing the course in 55 seconds. He then went through to the more difficult semi final course where he was one of ten to complete the course in times ranging from 3:03 to 5:09. Tim was third fastest (two seconds behind the second fastest). The semi final course included a hanging slider and warped wall, finishing on an eight metre rope climb.
The final was split over two stages, with only the top eight from part one progressing to part two. The first part saw Tim calmly completing the course to face the final test.
The final stage
The last course was ever more demanding. As the fastest in the first stage, Tim had the advantage of going last on this stage. Few athletes had made the last stage, some falling at the ‘cliffhanger’ fingertip ledges, which included a seemingly impossible transition where athletes had to move to a separate ledge, parallel to the one they had climbed.
Tim took a different approach by swinging backwards, twisting in mid air before landing in position to hold on the second tiny ledge. Commentator Chris Kamara erupted with “that’s one of the most mesmerising things I have ever seen!”
He completed the next obstacle coolly with a step across from one tiny ledge to another across a six foot gap, almost reaching the splits. This left him with five flying bars between him and the end of the course and an attempt at the final rope climb which would crown him the first ever Ninja Warrior UK.
By the second one he had already beaten all other competitors. He completed four before his grip succumbed to the demands and he fell and was eliminated. Tim explained on the show that the bars (which he hadn’t attempted before) took a lot out of his hands as he had to hold on to the bars while stopping them rotating.
This made him the Last Man Standing and series winner.
The show was recorded some time before it was aired, and Tim took some time after it was on TV to tell Great Vegan Athletes about it.
“I was very pleased with how it went” he said “I had two weeks to prepare and I hadn’t been training much, only eating well and learning to relax. My mindset was strong coming in to it.”
“I was eating raw vegan at the time. I far exceeded my expectations…I just focused on myself , not any other competitors.”
The mental approach was evident with Tim showing a cool and calm approach to obstacles which would appear baffling to most of us, although still the incredible flying turn on the cliffhanger still needed some explanation.
“I saw the wood backboard was quite low and the others struggled seeing past it and couldn’t swing enough. From the front I could get a good swing and I’m comfortable with the turn."
Tim is an outspoken supporter of ethical veganism, and mentioned this on the show. In an interview he said: “I represent vegan athletes, I’m a meat free athlete and I want to show that you can be strong and not have to eat meat.”
He wore a Tshirt from his own ‘Ethcs’ brand, which promotes vegaism, during each stage.
He believes in the power of food, and takes few supplements. On the fifth day of a fast, he was planning to start eating raw again, with “melons, bananas and big salads” featuring heavily.
With performances of this quality – who should be seen to be appreciated – few would question that his choices have been anything other than perfect.