WCH Paraclimbing 2019: Briançon

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 😉   

 

 

 

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Paraclimbing Worldchampionship 2018, Innsbruck

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.

 

Innsbruck2018 2nd qual

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.

Paraclimbing Imst 2018 final result

Imst 2018 - dag1route2

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.