Telford paraclimber scaling new heights

A Telford climber will be looking to scale new heights when he flies out to his second international paraclimbing competition.

Luke Smith will be competing on the international stage again. Photo: Klinger Benni
Luke Smith will be competing on the international stage again. Photo: Klinger Benni

Luke Smith, from Leegomery, launched himself into climbing less than two years ago and has already established himself on the British Paralympic team.

A former British Muay Thai champion, Luke began to take his hobby of climbing more seriously after he was advised by doctors to drop the martial art after a serious eye injury sustained while climbing.

Now he trains several times a week despite his talipes, or club foot, a life-long condition which affects the mobility and strength of his left leg.

After being chosen to join the British Mountaineering Council's (BMC) paraclimbing team back in March, the 30-year-old travelled to Austria in late June to compete in the International Federation of Sport Climbing's (IFSC) Paraclimbing Masters event wearing GB colours.

He funded his own way to the competition, eager to compete against the best in his field.

Luke and the other climbers were challenged to scale 25 metres on an artificial wall at the foot of the Alps, in the beautiful town of Imst.

Luke finished ninth in his category, but was delighted with his progress having only become a serious climber in 2018.

"I never expected to podium but on day two I set myself some personal goals, such as push from my left leg more as it’s a weakness for me, and I used my left leg so much I fatigued it," he said.

"Overall it’s a learning experience. I have the world championships coming up next, July 14 to 18, so I'm working towards that."

Next in his sights are the IFSC's Paraclimbing World Championships, held in Briancon in France this weekend.

And though the BMC will cover his flights and accommodation, Luke needs to fund his own entry into the world championships and future competitions.

He is looking for sponsors who can help him, and anyone who is interested should email lukejs_87@hotmail.com

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