With multiple semi-finalists and a number of podiums, there were incredible performances in front of home crowds from both the GB Climbing and Paraclimbing Teams at the IFSC senior World Cup and Paraclimbing Cup in Edinburgh. This amazing sold-out event saw Hannah Slaney make her first senior finals, while the Paraclimbers stormed the podiums by winning five medals.
It was the first senior IFSC Lead and Speed World Cup to be held on British soil in 14 years, and it was massive. Held in the ginormous former quarry that is now the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena (EICA), one of the UK’s only National Performance Centres, this sold-out event combined three separate climbing disciplines into one mega weekend – Lead, Speed and Paraclimbing.
Nearly 200 athletes from around the world descended on this BMC organised event, including huge GB Climbing and Paraclimbing Teams, and wanting to show their support for this world-class competition, a number of the BMC’s top executives attended to help support our awesome teams on their home turf.
Both teams did incredibly well, with Molly Thompson-Smith and Jen Wood making semi-finals, Will Bosi and Hannah Slaney ecstatic to qualify for their first senior semi-final, and then Hannah smashing through to her first senior final too. Meanwhile, the paraclimbers came away with a huge medal haul of two silvers and three bronze.
Rob Adie, BMC competitions officer, said: “Squeezing three world cup disciplines – lead, speed and para – into a two-day IFSC event was always going to be a challenge, but the result was one of the most amazing weekends of competition climbing I have ever witnessed.
“The level of competition in all three disciplines was absolutely awesome! From the lead final battle with France’s Romain Desgranges winning in his 100th ever World Cup event, the great battle in the female lead competition between the world’s best climbers which now includes young GB star Hannah Slaney, to the spectacular display of speed climbing which came within a hair’s breadth of a new World Record – the weekend’s fastest time was a blistering 5.74 seconds. And finally, who could fail to be inspired by the amazing display of paraclimbing prowess by some of the world’s best paraclimbers up the steep and tall walls of EICA. It was great to see several GB podiums, but the performance of the weekend for me came from Belgium’s Pavitra Vandenhoven in the female RP1 category who made campusing up overhanging walls look so effortless – an amazing competitor!
“The BMC would like to thank Edinburgh Leisure and the staff at the EICA for helping to put on such an amazing event, and of course massive thanks are due to our band of hugely dedicated volunteer judges, belayers, camera crew, scorers, runners and all manner of other roles, without which the IFSC World Cup in Edinburgh or any of the BMC’s other competitions simply would not happen to the amazingly high standard that they do.”
GB Climbing Team – Lead report
The women’s route in semi-finals stumped many, including an on-form BMC ambassador Molly Thompson-Smith. Most fell at a particularly beta-intensive move, failing to find the use of an undercut volume. Those who failed to unlock that solution fell here, all except an incredibly strong Janja Garnbret who managed the move with a dynamic cut-loose jump. Fortunately, Hannah Slaney found the beta on the fly to qualify for semis.
In the final, Hannah appeared calmer and composed, climbing higher to reach the tricky moves around huge volumes in the overhanging roof. Climbing incredibly well, the 17-year-old came within a few moves of the rest of the finalists – 36+ compared to the 42 of first and second – and finished in a highly respectable seventh place.
First place went to the on-fire Janja Garnbret of Slovenia, who just pipped Jessica Pilz of Austria in second due to countback, and third went to Jain Kim of Korea.
Meanwhile in the men’s competition, a tough qualifiers saw only top local contender Will Bosi make it through to semis, with Jim Pope and Dave Barrans just missing out. In the semi-final, Will climbed incredibly well to finish in 17th place, only a handful of moves off the finalists.
The men’s lead final saw an extremely close battle between elite competitors, with three of the eight – Stefano Ghisolfi of Italy, Jakob Schubert of Austria and Domen Skofic of Slovenia – all falling at the same high point. But season leader Romain Desgranges of France effortlessly surpassed this to fall one move shy of the top, winning his third victory of the season.
Paraclimbing Cup report
Once again, the GB Paraclimbing Team set off for Edinburgh after competing there only a few weeks ago. Having experience of the arena and the journey, they were well prepared to try hard and give it their all in front of hundreds of fans at the second IFSC Paraclimbing Cup of the year.
Our athletes did exceptionally well, coming home with a fine array of results. Matthew Phillips and Hannah Baldwin came second in their categories to win silver medals, while Mikey Cleverdon, Anita Aggarwal and Phil Mitchell all came third in theirs for bronze medals. There were also a number of close podiums, as John Churcher and Joanna Waterton both just missed out in fourth places.
Robin O’Leary, GB Paraclimbing Team coach and manager, said: “A brilliant weekend for British climbing! A year ago saw the World Championships in Paris, and this was the first time since then that paraclimbing has been running at the same event as speed and lead. Personally, I think it is something that is necessary for the sport to continue to grow.
“Not many people get to see paraclimbers and I think every single person there, including ‘able-bodied’ athletes, will agree that seeing the paraclimbers fight their way up is the most inspiring thing in climbing today. We walked away with five podium places, which is excellent news. A lot of hard work has gone into training this year and the entire team are working furiously behind the scenes.
“Massive congratulations to Matthew Phillips and Hannah Baldwin for coming second as well as Mikey Cleverdon, Phil Mitchell and Anita Aggarwal for all placing third. However, we also had incredible performances by John Churcher, who missed the podium spot by a + point, Martin Heald, Josh Senior, Keith Lynch, Jo Waterton and Isabella Walsh, who gave it their all and it is great to see the progression this year.
“With every competition, we learn from our performance and we will now regroup, recompose and prepare for the next World Cup which will be held at Awesome Walls Sheffield in two weeks alongside the BLCCs. If you are in Sheffield, please come down to see both events and make sure you watch the paras – I guarantee you will be inspired beyond belief. As always, a BIG thank you to our sponsors: The BMC, Berghaus, Birchall Blackburn Law, and Oakwood Climbing Centre.”
WATCH: Highlights of the IFSC World Cup Lead final in Edinburgh
17th: Will Bosi
31st: Jim Pope
33rd: Dave Barrans
39th: Max Milne
40th: Aidan Roberts
41st: Billy Ridal
43rd: Joe Czubkowski
43rd: Sam Oakes
46th: Pete Dawson
50th: Orrin Coley
52nd: Joseph Walmsley
53rd: Thomas Matthews
54th: Aiden Dunne
7th: Hannah Slaney
9th: Molly Thompson-Smith
23rd: Jen Wood
27th: Kitty Morrison
28th: Jo Neame
31st: Isabelle Adams
33rd: Philippa Watkin
34th: Gwyneth Uttley
2nd: Hannah Baldwin
3rd: Anita Aggarwal
6th: Isabella Walsh
Men AU-2 (Forearm amputee):
2nd: Matthew Phillips
Men Visual Impairment B2:
4th: John Churcher
4th: Jo Waterton
3rd: Phil Mitchell
8th: Martin Heald
10th: Josh Senior
11th: Keith Lynch
3rd: Mikey Cleverdon
The GB Climbing Team is supported by the BMC, Berghaus, the Arch Climbing Wall and Rock Over Climbing, and the GB Paraclimbing Team is supported by Birchall Blackburn Law. Many UK walls also support the British Climbing Team through free or subsidised entry.
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