Matthew Phillips 15, a local student from Guildford has recently returned from the Italian Alps where he took part in the World Paraclimbing Cup as a part of the GB Paraclimbing Team. He competed in the competition with other competitors from across the world and brought home a Gold medal in his first ever international climbing competition.
Matthew, a student at Salesian College in Farnborough, who was born missing his right arm below the elbow, said ‘competing was daunting at first when I began to realise it was against the whole world but to win a gold in my first international competition feels amazing.’
The competition consist of two qualifying climb’s and a final climb on the new ADEL Climbing wall at Campitello Di Fassa in the South Tyrol district of Italy. Matthew complete each of the three climbs with a perfect score making him one of the top climbers in the World in his category.
He joined four other members of the GB Paraclimbing Team, 2 of whom are leg amputees and 2 are arm amputees. In total they came home with 3 Gold and 1 Bronze medal making it a good start to their competition season.
His father said ‘Matthew has done extremely well. What most people don’t realise is that there is not a junior and senior paraclimbing team there is only one paraclimbing team. Therefore, all the competitors are older than he is.’ His coach Robin O’Leary, who is also the GB Team’s Head Coach said ‘I am extremely proud of Matthew and his efforts. A great result for his first international competition.’
Climbing is entering an exciting stage at the moment as the IOC Executive Committee have recommended it and 4 other sports be accepted into the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. It will go to the IOC member vote in August. The next competitions for Matthew are in 2 weeks time in Austria, France and then UK in September.
Matthew uses the Guildford Spectrum which is run in partnership with the GLL Sport Foundation and Freedom Leisure for swimming associated with his climbing fitness regime. We are very proud to be supporting Matthew and sure he has even more great performances yet to come this year.
If anyone with disabilities is interested in finding out more about climbing please contact your local wall. If you interested in following Matthew’s next competitions then go to his website www.matthewphillips.me.uk