BERN 2023: MUCH MORE THAN WORLD TITLES
As the curtain came down on the IFSC Climbing and Paraclimbing World Championships Bern 2023 there was a lot to reflect on, from record numbers in Paraclimbing to the second appearance of Sport Climbing at an Olympic Games.
When IFSC President Marco Scolaris addressed the crowd at the PostFinance Arena at the end of 12 days of action he began by thanking the organisers, the City of Bern, the Swiss Alpine Club, and the group of hundreds of enthusiastic volunteers who made the event so special.
Scolaris then continued to thank another special group of people. The fans.
“Thanks to you, the fans, the spectators, you who animated these days, and also to those who watched on television from their homes. But you, the audience of the PostFinance Arena, made this event unique: Bern, I promise we will come back soon.”
Over 42,000 spectators came to cheer on the Climbing and Paraclimbing athletes throughout the event, and whilst they were treated to festival of climbing, the athletes were treated to rapturous applause from the adoring crowd.
A particularly special moment was the absolute silence as the visually impaired athletes ascended the walls with the help of commands from their coaches and spotters before descending to an eruption of cheering and clapping from enthralled onlookers.
Even those not able to attend in person could watch from their homes around the world as the first ten athletes were confirmed for next summer’s showpiece - Paris 2024.
The goal at a World Championships is to win a world title. At that was realised in the Boulder, Lead and Paraclimbing disciplines. For Speed and Boulder & Lead, the added extra was an Olympic ticket.
There were tears of joy and tears of sorrow as the Paris 2024 tickets were confirmed, but with the sadness from those who missed out, you could see the determination rise to grasp one of the next opportunities to join ‘the greatest show on Earth’.
At this point in time, the climbers going to Paris 2024 are:
- Women’s Speed – Desak Made Rita Kusuma Dewi (IND) and Emma Hunt (USA)
- Men’s Speed - Matteo Zurloni (ITA) and Long Jinbao (CHN)
- Women’s Boulder & Lead –Janja Garnbret (SLO), Mori Ai (JPN) and Jessica Pilz (AUT)
- Men’s Boulder & Lead –Jakob Schubert (AUT), Colin Duffy (USA) and Narasaki Tomoa (JPN)
There are plenty more opportunities for Olympic qualification over the next few months from Continental Games to the Olympic Qualifier Series. For the record number of Paraclimbers competing at a World Championships the next few months will also hold the decision of whether they will also be joining the part of LA28.
During his closing speech, Scolaris said: “Athletes, you all qualify as ambassadors of sport, as messengers of peace. Our journey in Bern lasted 12 days. In this journey all climbing values were showcased: inclusion, resilience, sustainability, respect. In climbing we learn from each other, and we teach each other. This is sport, because sport is education. Sport is a tool to educate ourselves and our society, to make the world a better place.”
The final act for Scolaris at Bern 2023 was to formally close the event and pass the baton to the next World Championships hosts – Seoul, South Korea in 2025. See you all there.