July 16/17 I competed in the Worldchampionship paraclimbing in Briançon (or ‘Braincon’ as some americans call it):
It was a great experience and I’m really happy with the result: I came in 11th (out of 19 in my category). Of course, I’d rather be world champion, but I think I did really well. It’s amazing to see what I can do with my spastic left foot after years of training:
Something else was very nice to see: when I competed in my first Worldchampionship (Paris, 2016) there were five people in my category, out of a grand total of 73 athletes. This year there were 19 athletes in my category, out of a total of 211: paraclimbing is growing fast!
I was asked to carry the Dutch flag onto the podium during the opening ceremony of the Worldchampionship. There was a ramp next to the podium, made especially for wheelchairs, but I decided not to use my wheelchair: I decided to walk. That was a bad idea, because the hand-rails on both sides of the ramp were there to prevent wheelchairs from falling off, so they were only about 30 centimeters high. I couldn’t grab those rails, so that was really scary! When I walk, I stumble from side to side like a drunk, so as the procession of flag-bearers slowly made its way up the ramp I looked around me in panic, but the blind girl behind me didn’t notice. As I concentrated very hard on walking in a straight line, my left arm and hand took on their most spastic pose, and I had a very serious look in my eyes. In the picture below (on the right) it seems almost as if I’m a violent nationalistic protester 😉
It remains uncertain whether Tokyo will host the Worldchampionship paraclimbing 2019 this August, but I’m not waiting for that!
Continue reading “Tokyo August 2019?”
The first route I had to climb at the Paraclimbing Worldchampionship in Innsbruck is the red one you see in the images below. On the left there is a detailed picture of the first few meters up, and then the route turns to the right, which you see in the right-hand picture. In the beginning there are many holds, so it seems easy. But none of these holds is good enough to support my entire weight with only one hand, so I had to be creative, and lean to the right (that’s also why it takes so long to begin; see video clip).
It wasn’t an easy route, but I fought well, which earned me an 8th position in the classification after the first route.
Only the best four climbers continue to the finals, so I knew I had to do better in the second route. I had some faith in that, because the second route seemed somewhat easier than the first.
I had a clear plan how to climb the route, and everything went relatively smoothly, when all of a sudden I heard the voice of the commentator through the speakers: “PLEASE STOP CLIMBING, YOU HAVE BEEN DISQUALIFIED”. I had used a bolt sticking out of the wall to stand on, and you’re not allowed to do that.
Six weeks before the Worldchampionship in Innsbruck I’m doing some training in Austria. I call it semi-outdoor, because there are some extra holds fastened to the rock. But because the rock-face is not very smooth these extra holds can wiggle a bit, so you have to be very careful when using them!
On Saturday (the first day; I had to climb three routes) I was really tired; I had a ‘bad hair day’, so I topped only one out of three routes. Usually, the routes on the second day are more difficult, so I hadn’t expected much: I expected to reach only the second or third grip… that was not the case! I climbed all three routes until about halfway. I couldn’t catch up with the other competitors after the first day, but I had a surprising Sunday! I ended fifth in my category.
Tactical update: I’m climbing six routes in the next 2 days; there are six people in my category. (4 of those are a challenge, 1 I don’t know yet, and the sixth is myself… I really want to beat that last one!). My first climb is at 14.00
Cross your fingers for me!
Check out the results of my latest photo shoot!
[credits go to Rein Rijke]