Gripped at the Innsbruck World Championships
Gripped’s editor Brandon Pullan was on hand at the Innsbruck World Championships on a press trip with Black Diamond as part of the Road to Tokyo campaign. The competition, which takes place every two years, was a 10-day event with the world’s best indoor climbers going head to head on the most cutting-edge artificial walls ever made. Austria’s Jakob Schubert, lead world champion, and bouldering world champion, Janja Garnbret from Slovenia, claimed the combined world titles. The comp was nearly nonstop, top-level climbing that ended with the combined results, the first of its kind at the ifsc World Championships. The six topscoring men and women athletes competing in bouldering, lead and speed in Innsbruck qualified to climb in all three disciplines on the final day, a showdown of the best all-round competitors for the coveted combined world title. It’s the same format that will be used at the 2020 Olympics.
As the ifsc reported, the combined world title came down to endurance on the towering lead wall where finalists had six minutes to climb as high as possible, with time-breaking ties. Powerful moves led to a jump into the steepest middle section with hard to place feet, ending with dynamic moves and a leap to the top hold. “It was one of the most exciting live events I’ve ever been to,” said Pullan who worked at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. “The emotional connection you build with the paraclimbers, the strength and speed of the speed climbers and the great showmanship of the athletes combined to make it one of the most entertaining climbing competitions that has ever taken place. As we saw at the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, climbing is an Olympic-level sport that will inspire countless young climbers to push themselves.”
Pullan was on hand to watch Canadian paraclimber Kate Sawford win silver the AL-2 category (leg amputee). He also got to watch the many Canadians compete in qualifiers, including Seb Lazure. “For the first time the cec was able to totally fund the trip of the team that they sent to the world championships,” said Lazure, “so for the first time we are really travelling as one team, staying all together at the same place and having a coach and a therapist with us. We also had a brandnew complete uniform by mec. It feels a lot more professional and it is fun sharing this experience with everyone. Overall as an event itself these championships have been one of the best. The atmosphere was great and the organization was on point. It has been super inspiring to watch everyone push their limits in every discipline and cheer on each other.”—Gripped