Keep Paraclimbing in Tokyo: Worlds Belong Together
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All - whoa. This is spreading like wild fire, and I'm learning that we have the support of the industry and a community in a way I had never imagined.
We have started talking directly with the IFSC and while we will not be in Tokyo this year, I believe that we will have good news coming out of all of this in the end, for the greater future of paraclimbing - thanks to the attention that you have helped give it, and to the IFSC who is willing to talk things through.
In the meantime, if you're reading this, that means you care about paraclimbing. I urge all of you to reach out to your local gyms and see what the offer for accessibility programming. Find out if there are groups that you can donate your time or money to. Research organizations that promote adaptive climbing and find out how you can help the cause.
Love, the Para Squad ***
Since 2012, paraclimbers, or climbers with physical disabilities, have competed alongside their abled bodied counterparts at the World Championships. Every two years, paraclimbers get to share the stage with the abled climbers and experience true competition on a world class stage, and the world gets a chance to see, learn from and be inspired by paraclimbers overcoming the impossible. Other standalone paraclimbing events see little of the same attention and publicity as when shared with the abled athletes.
It’s come to the paraclimber’s attention that due to what is being described as a ‘scheduling conflict’ has led the Japanese Mountaineering & Sport Climbing Association (the host organization) and the International Federation of Sport Climbing (the governing body for competitive climbing) to consider cancelling the Paraclimbing part of the world championships in Tokyo and relocating it to France – after it had already been announced and published to the schedule on the IFSC website, and after a history of successful combined events. Cancelling paraclimbing in Tokyo is the easy, convenient thing to do, but that doesn't mean it's the right thing - our athletes are more than an inconvenience, and they deserve better.
We believe the IFSC’s proposed solution to move the Paraclimbing Championship to a different month, venue, country and continent is unacceptable. There are other options that can be explored to keep Paraclimbing in Tokyo with the abled bodied climbers. If it were to move, we question how the IFSC could recreate the full WCH experience just for the paraclimbers.
We believe that disabled athletes deserve a voice in our sport – there was not a single disabled athlete at the plenary assembly of the IFSC where these decisions are being made.
We also want to thank the French federation for stepping up to host the Paraclimbing WCH event, and do appreciate the IFSC’s willingness to do so rather than cancel the event outright. Still, we feel that this should not be the way it is going forward, and that if moving the WCH this year MUST happen, that this would be a one time, emergency solution - and that the IFSC is fully transparent about it's efforts and what it is doing to keep this from happening in the future. Our hope is that this concludes with a handshake and a plan moving forward to grow the sport of climbing for ALL.
Please help us send a message to the Japanese Mountaineering & Sport Climbing Association and the IFSC that paraclimbing is important to not just the disabled people, but to the abled athletes and the greater climbing and sporting community. Thank you.
***Please note that this is an actively evolving situation and details may be corrected as we hear more from the JMSCA and IFSC. This is the situation as we understand it now. ***
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