At the Innsbruck 2018 Paraclimbing World Championships this week, Team GB came away with three World Champions and one Silver and one Bronze medal. GB Paraclimbing Team coach Robin O'Leary sent us the following report...
Over the last two years, all of the GB Paraclimbing Team's hard work - individual and team training sessions, World Cups and Master events - has been in the run up to this event: the 2018 World Championships.
Each athlete has been imagining the moment when they step out onto the stage in front of a welcoming and supportive Innsbruck crowd. They've been mentally preparing to step off the floor and make that first move with butterflies in their stomach. That moment has been and gone and I can proudly say that we are incredibly happy with the results!
Innsbruck put on a brilliant competition, with excellent and exciting routes for the para-athletes. Very contemporary, volume based routes with dynamic moves for every category – helping with the nerves and adding to the adrenaline. This event has seen a record number of athletes participate. Many World Cup events over the last few years have seen almost a guaranteed medal. This event is very different with strong competition in every category. It is fantastic to see the sport grow and the level raise to an impressive standard.
The qualifiers were set over two days at the industry-leading Kletterzentrum Innsbruck. Every athlete put in a valiant performance with some missing out on the finals by the smallest of margins (a move). Peculiar equations are used to rank the athletes (the square root of rank x rank), but this left us with five athletes going through to finals.
Mikey Cleverdon through in 2nd place in the RP3 category
Hannah Baldwin in 1st place in RP2
Anita Aggarwal in 3rd place in RP2
Abbie Robinson in 1st place in B2
Matt Phillips in 1st place in AU2
The finals were held over two days. Hannah put in an almost flawless performance, hitting the top hold but not quite latching it, to secure her position on the top of the podium – World Champion! Anita put in a great fight to maintain her 3rd position too. Abbie was in cruise control – climbing effortlessly in front of an eerily quiet crowd. She topped and secured her place as our second World Champion of the event. Mikey Cleverdon was the final GB climber to set off. A good high point had been set by the previous competitors on a tough 8b final route. Mikey did everything he possibly could and climbed with confidence and style – just missing out on the top spot, but proudly bringing home another medal - this time a silver.
After a hugely successful Thursday finals for the GB Para Team, Friday saw Matthew Phillips' chance to get onto the podium. After a flawless qualifying round, being the only athlete in his category to top both routes, Matthew was quietly confident going into the finals. Matt was calm in isolation and his warm up routine was perfectly executed. The crowd was growing, since following on from Matt's category was the final for the women's bouldering World Championships.
The American athlete Trevor Smith, who qualified in second position, fell off touching the final hold, so Matt had to top. He came out onto the stage, acknowledged the crowd and followed his routine. He set off in a good pace, breezed through the crux and confidently popped for the final hold with his right arm. He secured the final hold and matched to the delight of the crowd as they erupted in celebration and admiration.
Another GB World Champion!
It has been a very successful World Championships for Team GB. For now, it's back to training and preparing for the nationals.
MEN visual impairment B1
|3||Francisco Javier Aguilar Amoedo||ESP||22|
MEN visual impairment B2
|2||Raul Simon Franco||ESP||24+|
|9||Florin Alin Ana||ROU|
|10||Hans Ewald Grill||AUT|
WOMEN visual impairment B2
1. Qualification MEN AL-1 (seating)
|2||Urko Carmona Barandiaran||ESP||36+|
|3||Albert Guardia Ferrer||ESP||24|
WOMEN AU-2 (Forearm Amputee)
MEN AU-2 (Forearm Amputee)
|4||Pablo Blanco Barrios||ESP||30|
|7||Ismael Ewan Sánchez Mcilroy||ESP|
|7||GIAN MATTEO RAMINI||ITA|
|8||Brittany Rae Davis||USA|
|7||Mor Michael Sapir||ISR|
|5||Juan Pipo Gil Blanco||ESP|