British paraclimber Dave Bowes returned to the UK with not one but two medals from the IFSC Para-Climbing Cup in Chamonix last weekend. The event was both a European Championship and a Cup, with Dave winning Silver in the European Championship and Bronze in the Para-Climbing Cup.
The annual IFSC competition weekend in Chamonix has proved highly successful over the last few years in combining rounds of the IFSC Difficulty and Speed World Cup with the Paraclimbing events in front of a very enthusiastic crowd of supporters and spectators.
Dave commented on his performance:
"Although the prize giving was too much sensory overload for my brain injuries, the atmosphere during the competition, the cheer of over 2000 spectators and the quality of routes were amazing. And what a back drop! To be able to look over at Mont Blanc at the end of your climb whilst being lowered down is both beautiful and surreal."
Manager of the GB Paraclimbing Team Graeme Hill told UKC:
"There’s a lot going on with paraclimbing, more countries, more athletes, more pressure through popularity. I have also noticed a big change in the abilities of countries like France, Italy, Spain and Germany. On top of all this our team is slightly smaller this year leaving team members more exposed. Despite all this Dave really rose to the challenge and climbed incredibly well on a wall that was much steeper than in 2013.
He added: "Dave is incredibly focussed and very well trained. He does a lot of mental preparation. It was also great to see him follow Head Coach Mark McGowan's advice to climb fast which he did to an absolute tune. I’m really excited for the future of team GB. Dave’s performance will keep winning us medals and will also inspire new disabled athletes to come through."
Dave suffered multiple brain injuries as a result of a car crash in 2007, which left him with a neurological disability. Dave is British Paraclimbing Champion in his category and made the international podium in every event he entered last year. He has also competed internationally as part of the able-bodied GB Ice Climbing Team.
The GB Paraclimbing team performed well overall in Chamonix in a strong field, with Phil Mitchell (Leg Amputee) qualifying for the finals and finishing 4th and Sianagh Gallagher (Left Arm Amputee) and John Churcher (Blind B2) narrowly missing out and finishing in 4th and 5th place respectively.
You can follow Dave on Twitter: www.twitter.com/bowesdave
Or on Instagram: www.instagram.com/bowesdave
The Paraclimbing team is gratefully sponsored by Wild Country through the fantastic work that the Wide Boyz do in their Crack School.