World Championships Bern 2023

Posted by Peter Burnside on 27/07/2023
Molly Thompson-Smith competing at the Moscow World Championships 2021. Photo: IFSC / Jan Virt

The competition climbing, GB Climbing lowdown, and event information for the IFSC Climbing & Paraclimbing World Championships 2023 in Bern, Switzerland, 1-12 August.

What’s happening at the IFSC World Championships Bern 2023?

The IFSC World Championships is being held next week in Bern, Switzerland, and will last from 1 August to 12 August.

The schedule includes an array of events, including the Paraclimbing World Championships, and is the first official event where athletes will be eligible to qualify to compete at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

How can you get involved?

For those of us that cannot watch the World Championships in person, the live coverage of the action will be available via Discovery and Eurosport. Highlights, results and feature interviews will also be posted on the IFSC YouTube channel, Olympics.com TV Channel, and social media.

Why does it matter? – Olympic qualification explanation

For competition climbers, the IFSC World Championships 2023 in Bern is the first step on the road to qualifying for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. There are 10 Olympic quota spots for Paris 2024 up for grabs which all the athletes competing will be looking to secure to realise their Olympic dreams.

All of the GB Climbing athletes competing will be daring to hope of winning one of these highly coveted quota spots, and eyes will be on one of these athletes in particular. With a rapidly growing collection of medals – including two World Cup gold medals – our very own Toby Roberts will be in with a huge shot at making the Olympics in this first qualifying event for Paris 2024; particularly as Speed will not be included in the combined event.

READ: Gold for Roberts in Chamonix

The new format for competition climbing

A horde of athletes around 800 strong from 60 different nations will gather in Bern to test their fingers, biceps, stamina as they will often compete in two events a day for nearly two weeks. There will be a total of 8 medal events with 10 Olympic quotas to be awarded, across the boulder and lead combined format, and the separate discipline of speed.

There will be three disciplines: speed, boulder, and lead. Once the single disciplines have been concluded, the top 20 athletes from each gender will step back onto the mat to compete in the new Olympic format consisting of boulder and lead. 

While at Tokyo 2020 there was only one medal awarded per gender, the Paris 2024 Olympic Games will see two medals awarded per gender. Speed has been separated out into its own event, while the combined event now consists of only Boulder and Lead. This means that a total of four gold medals will be awarded to climbing athletes at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

The IFSC explains the disciplines

SPEED

Speed climbing entails climbing a globally standardised route secured from above as quickly as possible. Qualification comprises two rounds for each athlete. The aim is to achieve the fastest possible time. The fastest 16 climbers from the qualifying rounds will advance to the final rounds. From the round of sixteen onwards, athletes compete against each other in a knockout system.

BOULDER

Bouldering involves climbing without a rope up to a height of 4.5 metres. Four to five “bouldering problems” with complex individual moves and difficult movement sequences must be mastered in a given time. The aim is to hold the top hold, i.e. the uppermost hold, with both hands.

LEAD

Athletes climb in lead along a previously unfamiliar route. The aim is to get as far as possible – ideally to the top hold. Competitors have 6 minutes to complete their attempt. The route has a minimum length of 15 metres.

COMBINED / BOULDER & LEAD

Ahead of the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, a new event will be introduced with combined scoring from the Boulder and Lead disciplines. There is a fixed order of events: the competition starts with Boulder, followed by Lead.

PARACLIMBING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

The most successful paraclimbers compete in the discipline Lead. Athletes are placed in different categories depending on the type and degree of their disability in order the guarantee the fairest possible competition.  Despite their impairment, some athletes climb very challenging routes up to grade 8 on the French scale.

CLIMBING WITH A HANDICAP

Limb deficiency
Reduced muscle tone
Impaired movement coordination (ataxia)
Involuntary movement (athetosis)
Impaired vision
Reduced muscle strength, e.g. due to a spinal cord injury
Impaired range of joint movement
Leg length difference (at least 20%)
Short stature (<140 cm)

Paraclimbers have at least one of the following disabilities, which also meet the so-called “minimum criteria”. More information: Paraclimbing IFSC.

GB Climbing Athlete list:

MEN
Combined
Jim Pope
Jack MacDougall
Max Milne
Toby Roberts
Hamish McArthur

Speed
Rafe Stokes
Matthew Fall

WOMEN
Combined
Molly Thompson-Smith
Erin McNeice

Boulder
Holly Toothill

GB Paraclimbing Athlete list:

MEN
Alex Downes
James Rudge
Jesse Dufton
Jon Shields
Kenneth Ellacott
Laurence Morgan
Luke Jamieson
Luke Smith
Martin Heald 
Matthew Styles-West
Matt White
Rich Slocock 
Sebastian Musson
Stuart Sneddon
 
WOMEN
Abbie Robinson 
Anita Aggarwal
Bella Walsh
Jo Newton
Lucy Keyworth
Lux Losey-Sail
Martha Evans

WATCH: We Are GB Climbing

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👀 VISIT: GB Climbing website and see who's on the team

GB Climbing is supported by the BMC, Mountaineering Scotland and Secur-it. Many UK walls also support the GB Climbing team through free or subsidised entry.


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