It was an amazing performance by the GB Paraclimbing Team in the first IFSC World Cup of the year at Briançon, France. Great stuff all round and awesome to see the team earn three gold medals and one bronze.
The GB Paraclimbing Team’s competition season has started off like a rocket proving the team’s ability and dedication to improving. Last year, in the their best season to date, the team achieved four gold medals, nine silvers, and four bronze. So winning three golds and one bronze in the team’s first event of the year is phenomenal.
In the Visual Impairment B2 category, Abbie Robinson stormed to the top of the finals route when no one else could to claim the gold medal. Matt Phillips in the AU-2 category (forearm amputee) used his dynoing skills and flew up the route, slapping the final hold but unfortunately not managing to hang it. And in the RP2 category (limited range, power or stability), Hannah Baldwin climbed fantastically to add another gold medal to the pile. Meanwhile, Dave Bowes in the RP3 category put in a fine effort to earn the bronze medal.
Yesterday's result also proves how beneficial the team's new sponsorship deal is. At the beginning of the year, the GB Paraclimbing Team announced a fantastic joint sponsorship arrangement with The Quay Climbing Centre and Oakwood Climbing Centre that secured funding for the team for the next three years. The sponsorship allows a stable platform for planning ahead, for more competitions to be attended, and an increase in support for the team as a whole.
Robin O'Leary, GB Paraclimbing Team coach, said: “Wow, what a start to the IFSC Paraclimbing World Cup series for the GB Paraclimbing Team. We have been lucky enough to run a few team training days this year and preparation has been great, so both myself and Belinda Fuller were quietly confident running up to this event.
“We were using Briançon to see where we are in relation to the team's competition six weeks ahead of the World Championships in Innsbruck. Some of the team haven't had the best schedules, with injuries preventing training, but we were pleased to see that they were competitive with the best.
“Walking away with 3 Gold medals and 1 Bronze is fantastic! Matt Phillips, Hannah Baldwin, Abbie Robinson, and Dave Bowes, all have fierce competition and they've set the bar high. We also had a few new team members competing in their first World Cups. They did really well, with some narrowly missing the podium. This will serve as fuel for the fire ahead of Innsbruck.
“The whole team did great and we have to say a huge thank you to Oakwood Climbing Centre, The Quay Climbing Centre, Berghaus, and to the BMC for their support. It wouldn't be achievable without them. It was also great to have the IFSC stream the finals live on YouTube. The more people who join this sport, the better. Spread the word.”
WATCH: The highlights of the Paraclimbing Cup Briançon
RESULTS: IFSC Paraclimbing Cup Briançon, 18 July
Visual impairment B1
1st: Matteo Stefani (ITA)
2nd: Nicolas Moineau (FRA)
3rd: Francisco Javier Agular Amoedo (ESP)
4th: Jesse Dufton (GBR)
Visual impairment B2
1st: Giulio Cevenini (ITA)
2nd: Simone Salvagnin (ITA)
3rd: Florin Alin Ana (ROU)
4th: Richard Slocock (GBR)
6th: John Churcher (GBR)
1st: Thierry Delarue (FRA)
2nd: Urko Carmona Barandiaran (ESP)
3rd: Julien Gasc (FRA)
5th: Josh Senior (GBR)
1st: Matthew Phillips (GBR)
2nd: Pablo Blanco Barrios (ESP)
3rd: Andreas Band (GER)
1st: Alessandro Neri (ITA)
2nd: Gregor Selak (SLO)
3rd: Dave Bowes (GBR)
Visual impairment B2
1st: Abigail Robinson (GBR)
2nd: Tanja Glusic (SLO)
3rd: Roxane Heili (FRA)
1st: Hannah Baldwin (GBR)
2nd: Solenne Piret (FRA)
3rd: Marlene Prat (FRA)
1st: Lucie Jarrige (FRA)
2nd: Elode Orbaen (BEL)
3rd: Tiziana Paolini (ITA)
4th: Joanna Newton (GBR)
The GB Climbing Team is supported by the BMC, Mountaineering Scotland, Clif Bar, Duco and Rock Over Climbing.
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