BERN 2023 PREVIEW: PARACLIMBING
The IFSC Paraclimbing World Championships takes over Bern, Switzerland, from 8 to 10 August as over 200 athletes from 25 countries compete for world titles across the 20 categories.
After a series of three World Cup events starting in Salt Lake City, USA, moving onto Innsbruck, Austria, before finally finishing off in Villars, Switzerland, the paraclimbers focus now turns to sealing a World Championships podium and medal.
A few athletes have shown great form in 2023 with a number of climbers taking golden World Cup clan sweeps with three golds from the three events.
One of those athletes is France’s Solenne Piret in the Women’s AU2. Although taking the top step of the podium on a regular basis, preparations have been a bit more disruptive than the usual build-up.
Piret said: “Training has been a bit weird for me this year as I have moved to Briançon, and I have only been able to train in my garage gym. They have a new wall, but when I moved, they were still building it so I didn’t have the chance to use it. I moved to be closer to the mountains and thought I could train that way, but for competition it’s been mainly garage based.”
Despite the less-than-ideal preparation, what are Piret’s goals for the World Championships?
Quite simply Piret explains: “I just want to give my best and enjoy the routes. I want to give everything and just enjoy it.”
Some of the other climbers boasting the three from three are Japan’s Aita Sho in the Men’s B1, Romania’s Cosmin Florin Candoi in the Men’s B3 and France’s Lucie Jarrige in the women’s AL2.
Jarrige has been a bit of a force in the Paraclimbing events, and someone looking to challenge her is a relative newcomer, not just to competition, but to climbing as well - Australia’s Sarah Larcombe.
Talking about her route to the World Championships, Larcombe said: “I’m really excited but being in the venue is intimidating as it’s my first World Champs. I haven’t been to an event this big before. I started climbing in 2019, broke my ankle after I started so had three months off, and then it was lockdown from Covid. I mean it’s a pretty good trajectory isn’t it.”
So, with her route sorted, What are Larcombe’s expectations in Bern?
“I’m definitely trying to build on my World Cup performances this year. I came away with three silvers, so I would love a gold but I know that’s going to be hard. I mean that’s what everyone’s going for though right.”
With the saying ‘you are only as good as your last competition’ in mind, and the last World Cup also being in Switzerland when Villars hosted, there are climbers who are moving onto the capital Bern with gold medals in their pockets.
Those athletes are Japan’s Hamanoue Fumiya in the men’s B2, Great Britain’s Abigail Robinson in the women’s B3, France’s Thierry Delarue in men’s AL2, Germany’s Kevin Bartke in men’s AU2, Austria’s Angelino Zeller in men’s RP1, Germany’s Philipp Hrozek in the men’s RP2, Japan’s Takano Tadashi in the men’s RP3, USA’s Melissa Ruiz in the women’s RP1, Netherland’s Christiane Luttikhuizen in the women’s RP3 and France’s Maxime Meyer in the men’s AU3.
Climbing begins at the PostFinance arena on 8 August at 09:00 (UTC+2:00) with qualifications before the medals are decided in the finals on 10 August at 13:00.
France's Solenne Piret competes at the IFSC World Cup Villars 2023
Photo: Jan Virt/IFSC