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 😉