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A Short Film by Teri Limongi
Credit: Epic TV Climbing Daily
I was lucky enough to be invited by Shauna Coxsey for the second year to the BIFF Final 2018 at the Climbing Works in Sheffield. This event is unique in climbing compeititons and full title is Beastmaker International Footess Festival. I love the irony of me a climber with one arm taking part in a footless competition. It consists of a number of rounds and then a grand final at the Climbing Works. The Grand final is for the top 10 in each round and by invitation. The rules are simple not feet allowed. All the proceeds go to Climbers Against Cancer.
This is a great fun competition and nothing is taken seriously. The problems are crazy and the challenges even more so. All the problems
are to be tackled without using your feet and optional are silly costumes. This year we had the Incredible Hulk and a flying Nun. The challenges ranged from a 360 spinning volume where you had to rotate it whilst staying on it, a deadhang challenge and Ring Ned’s Bell. This challenge was my highlight as when I took my go Alex Megos had set the record with 39 rings. I gave it my all and beat him with 42 rings. It did not stand for long but I go to beat Alex Mego’s which is all that matters.
The other highlight of the evening was appearing on the One Five Nine Show with Leah Crane. The show was live streaming the final and it was great to appear on the show. You can see my appearance on Youtube.
The Super Final was amazing, the great reveal was a Infinity Campus Board. A huge drum with two campus boards mounted side by side. The finalists went head to head until one dropped off. Well done to Jim Pope and Rachel Carr who were crowned this years Mr & Mrs BIFF. ALso well done to GB Paraclimbing Coach Belinda Fuller who came third in her first BIFF.
For most of July I had the opportunity to visit Australia on a family holiday. No holiday would be complete without some climbing and I managed to sample what Australia, or more specifically Brisbane had to offer both indoor and outdoor.
My first experience of climbing down under was at the invite of Sport Climbing Queensland who were running an All Abilities Workshop (Paraclimbing) at The Rock Climbing Gym in Brisbane. It struck me straight away on arriving how thrilled they all were to have a GB Paraclimber visit their event. Sport Climbing and Bouldering is fairly new in Australia and was only recognised as a sport a few years ago. They appeared to have little experience of paraclimbing but a strong desire to progress the sport. The morning was dedicated to the children and they had over a dozen climbers of all disabilities. After a few demo climbs I had the opportunity to talk to a number of the climbers, some of whom even followed me on social media. The afternoon was dedicated to adult and we had 6 climbers attend. All in all it was good to see so many new climbers trying it out and overcoming their disabilities.
During my stay in Brisbane I had a number of sessions at the various centres which make up Urban Climb, Milton, West End and Newstead. Again everyone was very welcoming and interested in Paraclimbing and Sport Climbing in the UK, but the sport is not as developed than here at home. It is however, growing rapidly.
Finally, I had the experience of climbing outdoors at Kangaroo Point. A great setting along the banks of the Brisbane river right on the heart of the city. A great venue for that winter evening climb followed by a bar-b-q on one of the many public bar-b-q’s. The route were not really technical but hard enough to be challenging.
The sport is growing and quite new but there is a real feeling of wanting to develop it. Everyone I spoke to and met was very welcoming and keen to share experiences and find out about climbing in the UK. I’d like to thank everyone I climbed with and met and especially Maddie Broughton, Youth climber who is 2nd in Australia in Speed and 1st in Queensland for Lead.
Matthew is excited to announce that he has a new home wall and sponsor with the fantastic Oakwood Climbing Centre in Wokingham. Oakwood which opened less than a year ago has already raised the standard in indoor climbing centres and become a very popular climbing venue. "I am really pleased to be supported by such an outstanding centre and look forward to training regularly on their first class facilities". Said Matthew.
Oakwood is set in the countryside just outside Wokingham, Berkshire and boasts many top quality facilities including one of the longest competition walls in the UK, top out boulder islands, circuit board, lattice board, fingerboards, campus boards, Auto-belays, Top-rope and lead walls. It also has mini boulder walls and slide for children large and small. After climbing you can relax in their cafe with its large view window onto the climbing arena and under floor heating.
Tony Pudner, the man behind the formation of the centre said "Matt is a shining example of someone who has succeeded at the highest levels of climbing despite obstacles that life dealt him. You tell him why something can't be done and he will show you how it can. He will be an inspiration to young people, and we look forward to his future participation and involvement at the Oakwood Climbing Centre"
Why not come down and check out the centre, you may see Matthew training for his latest competition.
March 19th saw the first Paraclimbing Training Day of 2017. We all arrived just before opening at the new state of the art climbing centre in Wokingham, Berkshire the Oakwood Climbing Centre. For some it was the first visit to this centre but for me it’s become rather a regular hangout.
The day started with a general chat and catch up with old friends as well as meeting the new members of the Paraclimbing Team. The new kit was handed out I particularly like the new style coat but all the new kit looks good. We welcomed the new team coach Belinda Fuller (Be) who will join Robin O’Leary in training the team.
A warm up session then on the climbing wall floor, with some exchange of various exercises used by different members of the team.
The formal training started with each of us being set a number of boulder problems to work on recording the number of attempts we took to complete the problem. The coaches gave advice and coaching as required but also assessed everyone’s abilities and future development points. Then a break for lunch with Be scrutinising everyone’s lunch as a nutritionist as well as climbing coach, however, time for a bit of team banter round one team members converted van before it was time to get back to it.
After lunch the team members, taken a side by Be and went through a nutrition questionaire whilst others were set various tasks to complete allowing Robin to run some formal assesssment on people weaknesses and strengths. The centre as a range of training facilities such as a lattice board, circuit board, campus. A number of team members underwent a lattice board assessment whilst others were set endurance task.s By the end of the day everyone was exhausted but all felt the day had been worthwhile and very useful.
Looking forward to the next training day this time at Awesome Walls in Sheffield.