Four athletes from the GB Paraclimbing Team won medals in the IFSC World Paraclimbing Cup in Campitello di Fassa, Italy last weekend. Gold medals were awarded to Sianagh Gallagher, Matthew Phillips and Esme Harte and Isabella Walsh took bronze. Martin Heald narrowly missed out on a podium finish by just one point, finishing in 4th place.
15 year-old Matthew from Surrey was competing in the Men's Forearm Amputee category and took home a gold medal in his first international event. He told UKC:
'Competing was daunting at first - when I began to realise it was against the whole world - but to win a gold in my first international competition feels amazing.'
Team Captain Sianagh from York commented on her Women's Arm Amputee category win on Facebook: 'It was a really good and friendly comp. It was the first one of 2016 and it's really nice to see familiar faces from other countries.'
Team Manager and Coach Robin O'Leary told UKC:
'Team GB consisted of 5 members for this competition. 2 veterans – Sianagh Gallagher (arm amputee) and Esme Walsh (leg amputee) as well as three new team members: Martin Heald (leg amputee), Isabella Walsh (lower arm amputee) and Matthew Phillips (lower arm amputee). This was also my first trip with the team and I was extremely proud of their combined efforts. Returning to the UK with 3 gold medals, 1 bronze and Martin Heald narrowly missed out on the finals (by 1 point), but secured an impressive 4th place in a competitive category. For those interested, Martin’s category saw routes up to 7b/+ in difficulty!'
'From here, we can go away with a positive mindset, but it also gives us areas to work on and training plans to follow! I am really excited to help the team progress and to push paraclimbing as a sport. We have a strong team who have bonded well and are perfect ambassadors for this sport! I’d like to reiterate my congratulations to the whole team – they did our country proud!'
The team are now in training for the Paraclimbing Master in Imst, Austria in July, the Paraclimbing World Championship in Paris, France and the Paraclimbing Cup in Sheffield, both in September.
- Matthew Phillips - Forearm Amputee - 1st Place
- Sianagh Gallagher - Arm Amputee - 1st place
- Esme Harte - Leg Amputee - 1st Place
- Isabella Walsh - Forearm Amputee - 3rd place
- Martin Heald - Leg Amputee - 4th place