Paraclimbing athletes from France, Great Britain and Japan won 9 out of 12 categories at IFSC World Championships Innsbruck 2018. Italy, Iran and the United States also won gold medals in Paraclimbing.
Multiple winners of IFSC World Championships 2016 in Paris defended their world titles on Thursday in Innsbruck, including France’s own Lucie Jarrige and Romain Pagnoux. Pagnoux was the only athlete to top both qualification routes in men’s RP3 (limited range, power or stability), and the only athlete in the category to reach the headwall in finals. In the evening, Jarrige also fought her way onto the headwall of the 15-metre climbing wall in Olympiaworld Innsbruck to repeat as Paraclimbing world champion in women’s AL-2 (leg amputee). Before the evening was over, Koichiro Kobayashi of Japan surpassed all previous marks set in men’s B1 (visually impaired). Paraclimbing athletes in the visually impaired category receive direction throughout the route from their coaches on the ground while the crowd stays silent out of respect for this communication, but the crowd erupted afterwards when Kobayashi had set the high point to remain a Paraclimbing world champion.
Abigail Robinson of Great Britain continues to impress in her first IFSC season. Robinson soared to 1st place at the Paraclimbing Cup in Briançon in July, and the newly crowned Paraclimbing world champion opened finals on Thursday by claiming another gold medal in women’s B2. 2018 is the first IFSC season for Thierry Delarue, too, who likewise wore gold medals in Briançon and in Innsbruck at the biannual IFSC World Championships, overcoming a strong and experienced men’s AL-2 field to do so. His compatriot Solenne Piret is also competing in her first IFSC season this year and overtook all three medallists in 2016 to win women’s AU-2 (forearm amputee). American Justin Salas, who first competed in IFSC events last year, ended the Paraclimbing finals on Thursday in style, cutting feet at the decisive moves for the victory in men’s B2. Aika Yoshida (JPN), 3rd in Paris at the only other IFSC event in which she competed, upgraded to gold in women’s RP3.
Great Britain’s Hannah Baldwin excelled in the Paraclimbing Cup series last year, and that experience showed in Innsbruck. The 2017 women’s RP2 season champion added a world title to her collection this week, falling only at the lunge to the concluding hold in finals. Alessio Cornamusini of Italy, runner-up in 2016 and competing at IFSC events since 2012, added a world title to his scorecard in men’s RP1.
Two Paraclimbing athletes topped every route they climbed in qualifications and finals. Men’s AU2 world champion Matthew Phillips of Great Britain put on a show on Friday afternoon by leaping to the finishing hold and catching it with his amputated arm for the top. Iranian Behnam Khalaji never fell in Innsbruck as well, climbing to a perfect three tops in men’s RP2.
The women’s Bouldering final followed the Paraclimbing finals Friday evening, and the men’s Bouldering medallists will be decided on Saturday. Tune-in to the IFSC homepage to watch the LIVE streaming, and USA viewers can watch the men’s Bouldering semi-finals and finals LIVE on the IFSC website here. The schedule, links to replays, results and photos can be found on the Innsbruck event pages for Climbing and Paraclimbing, and both medal tables are shown here. Join the chat on Twitter at #IFSCwch!