Saturday 24th May saw the last in the 2014 BMC domestic paraclimbing series being hosted at Manchester Climbng Centre.
The format was the usual 3 routes and 3 boulder problems but this time the event was displaying a much tenser atmosphere due probably to performance on the day impacting both on overall series rankings and potential GB team selection.
Each event has offered routes and boulder problems very different in character. As per usual route 1 offered a relatively easy slab climb on good sized holds. Route 2 was up a leftward facing corner with tricky moves at the top and Route 3 was up the main wall providing what has been the longest and pumpiest route of the series so far.
The 3 boulder problems again offered a variety of corners, arêtes and tricky sequences. Feedback on the routes was good. Phil Mitchell (Leg Amputee) “loved” boulder problem 2 whilst Dave Tweed (Leg Amputee) was annoyed with himself for not reading Route 2 more carefully David said “I wished I had read the route more carefully and would have used the right wall more effectively”
One quite significant change was the opportunity to use top ropes on the boulder problems. Climbers had the choice, which the majority took up with feedback generally being very positive. Top roping supported unbroken concentration rather than handling a fall which can be extremely unnerving if for example you’re blind or have cerebral palsy.
Even though the series is only over a 2 month period there was some really significant developments in climbing standards. Current world champion Fran Brown is looking incredibly fit, strong and composed flashing all 3 routes and problems. There were very significant developments with Nick Middleton (Arm Amputee) who demonstrated an incredible amount of determination and skill when topping out on boulder problem 3. John Churcher (Blind) put in an excellent performance on the boulder problems. His hard training over the last few months has definitely pushed his technical ability up. Adam Hoolahan (Blind) has also shown some fantastic developments. Adam has an incredible amount of strength to hold himself and with further training and confidence building he will be able to transfer that into moving quicker.
Over all there were some spectacular displays of climbing and with each competition there has been an increase in focus, strength and confidence with a great deal of knowledge and skill sharing
The prize ceremony was very enjoyable with so many supporters and with the greatly appreciated presence of Richie Patterson Wild Country Marketing Manager who handed out additional prizes. Wild Country have agreed a 3 year gear deal with the paraclimbing team and also presented a cheque for £3000 raised by world class climbers Tom Randall and Pete Whitaker who generously gave all their takings from the Wideboyz Crack Climbing School.
Over the next few days the BMC will be selecting athletes to join the GB paraclimbing team to compete in the International Federation of Sports Climbing (IFSC) series which is all looking very exciting with comps scheduled in France, Spain, Italy and UK. Now that the team management is much more experienced with a few seasoned competitors to draw skills from we will this year work much more closely with managers and coaches from the other GB teams to develop models of coaching, nutrition and physiotherapy. Combined with the standard of climbing witnessed in this series we are super-ready to embrace the challenges of competing against other countries.
Thanks for the event go out to Manchester Climbing Centre for being great hosts. All the people who volunteered on the day and to Nate McMullan from Climbing Wall Services who volunteered time and equipment to install boulder top ropes and ensure that everything was sound and safe. A quick mention also goes to OnThisROC and IDiD adventure for giving such strong group support to the series.
Full results & reports for the whole series are here
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