As day turned to night on Wednesday and the sun set over “Parc des Sports,” the new competition venue in Briançon, France, elite Paraclimbing athletes competed for gold medals in 10 categories at the 2018 Paraclimbing Cup debut. Visually impaired athlete Abigail Robinson began the Paraclimbing finals with a quick top of the side wall. Forearm amputee Matthew Phillips wowed the crowd with a leaping effort to the final hold, missing the top but securing a second victory for Great Britain. 2017 season champion Hannah Baldwin made it three wins in a row for Great Britain, finding a top in the RP category (limited range, power or stability). France and Italy took charge during the climbing that followed on the overhanging wall. Matteo Stefani caught the crux which bested other finalists, and his Italian teammates Giulio Cevenini and Alessandro Neri also set high points. Leg amputee Thierry Delarue held on multiple times by only his hands to reach the top panel, and his French teammate Lucie Jarrige closed the round with a crowd-pleasing victory. RP athletes Behnam Khalaji of Iran and Korbinian Franck of Germany also won gold medals.
Lead qualifications and semi-finals took place on Friday, followed by the final round of the third IFSC Lead World Cup in 2018 on Saturday. The traditional resistance route-setting in Briançon required smart and strong climbing to connect all the static, technical moves. Stefano Ghisolfi (ITA), winner last week, began the high climbing and showed his high level of fitness by resting and chalking up at the first crux moves on the upper panel, falling a few holds from the top in the concluding traverse. 2017 Briançon winner Romain Desgranges (FRA) held on two moves more to take the lead in front of his home crowd, and 2018 season leader Jakob Schubert (AUT) fell in between their marks to place 4th. First in qualifications with two tops and second in semi-finals, Megos conserved enough energy to solve the second crux traverse, falling at the final hold for his first IFSC World Cup victory. Domen Skofic of Slovenia matched Schubert’s score to win bronze on countback.
Four Slovenian women competed in finals, the first time since 2007, including Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 qualified athlete Vita Lukan. Also on the climb to Buenos Aires, Nolwenn Arc kicked-off the women’s final by reaching the last section of the wall in front of her home crowd. Fresh off her victory last week, Jessica Pilz (AUT) again cruised to the top in finals, and Anak Verhoeven (BEL) fell lunging to the top hold for a spot on the podium. Last to climb, 2017 season champion Garnbret of Slovenia showed her power by launching for the finishing jug from a lower foothold for her second victory in 2018 and sole possession of first place in the season rankings. For more results, visit the Briançon event page on the IFSC website.
With her 6th place finish in finals, Lukan matched Shuta Tanaka (JPN) for the best finish at an IFSC Lead World Cup by a Youth Olympic Games qualified athlete. Reigning youth world champion Sam Avezou of France, Lukan’s teammate Lucka Rakovec and Laura Rogora of Italy also competed in semi-finals with Arc and Lukan.
Results, replays, highlights, photos and more can be found on the Briançon event page.