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The GFORCE Guide to...Speed Climbing

Added 01 Jun 2019 by GFORCE

In our latest GFORCE Guide to… we learn about the sport of Speed Climbing.
Just like children in a playground, you put a group of people together in a competitive sporting environment, it’s not going to be long before someone suggests a race… But racing opponents up a 15 metre artificial wall in less than six seconds is not normally what comes to mind. That’s all about to change though as Speed Climbing makes its 2020 Olympic debut!
The rules for Speed Climbing are relatively simple: competitors climb side-by-side on the same route and the first one to reach the top wins. The times are recorded by a plate at the base of the wall under the climber’s foot and a light sensor at the top. The challenge in this sport isn’t climbing the wall, it’s in climbing it fast!
Instead of the using the methodical climbing technique that is familiar to most people, speed climbers blaze up the walls in as little speed as possible. They train their bodies in the same way as long jump and triple jump athletes do, to be able to explode from standstill in a fraction of a second.
The sport is officiated by the International Federation of Speed Climbing (IFSC). The organisation has official courses for both 10 and 15 metre walls, but all international competitions are held at the latter height. The current world records are held by Reza Alipour and Anouck Jaubert for mens and womens in 5.48 and 7.32 seconds respectively.
In 2016, the Olympic Committee officially approved Climbing as an Olympic Sport and the sport will make its debut in the 2020 Tokyo Games. However, the Committee only approved 20 athletes and one medal per gender. To be in for a chance of winning Gold, climbers will have to compete in all three climbing disciplines: sport, bouldering, and speed.
The decision has caused quite a stir in the climbing community as most elite climbers specialise in one particular discipline. Fast and furious, it will certainly be worth a watch!

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