Competition Paraclimbing | Why it hasn’t made its Olympic debut
September 17, 2021
Many of us had late nights in lockdown. We sat glued to the TV watching speed, bouldering and lead climbing take the Olympic stage for the first time. This historic event was remarkable and provided some much needed climbing psyche, but sadly it was not followed through by the many inspirational paraclimbers. Unfortunately paraclimbing has not made its Olympic debut yet and here is why.
The International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee are separate organisations. This means an Olympic sporting debut doesn’t translate to a Paralympics debut and vice versa. This was the case for sport climbing.
For a sport to be included in the Paralympics there needs to be an assessed and approved level of quality, quantity and universality, similar to the Olympics. If you want to read further into the criteria you can find information on the International Paralympic Committee’s website.
Fear not because there is a plan in place for paraclimbing to make its foray into the Paralympics. The IFSC (International Federation of Sport Climbing) has developed an ongoing plan to develop paraclimbing, focusing on 3 key areas, in the hopes of future Paralympics games consideration. The 3 broad areas of development for the sport, governance and awareness.
To see paraclimbing take its rightful place in the Paralympics, facilities need to be set up to accommodate the training requirements of the athletes, specialised route setters need to be trained for paraclimbing competitions, and an increase in events at a local and an international level.
How can we ensure this development happens?
The first hurdle is a lack of awareness. Climbing is often thought of as a sport only for the fit, strong and able-bodied person, but many social groups are now changing the traditional image of a climber. Community outreach programs are helping the wider community see that anyone can experience the joy of climbing. Adaptive climbing organisations such as Able Climbing NSW and Adaptive Climbing Victoria have taken the initiative to assist with increasing awareness and accessibility for beginners willing to give it a go in Australia. It is exciting to think that this may be a step towards developing and discovering future Australian Paralympic athletes.
Through an increased awareness of paraclimbing, the quantity and quality of the sport will improve, with universality inevitably following. With this, we will see paraclimbing have its Paralympic debut.
The growth and development in our communities.
Add to the watch list:
IFSC World Championships Moscow 2021 || Paraclimbing Finals
18th September 2.40am