Westway hosts inclusive climbing competition | Every Body Moves

Westway hosts inclusive climbing competition

An adaptive climber mid climb on an indoor wall.

We're big fans of adaptive climbing here at Every Body Moves, with Scottish Paraclimbing picking up a Club of the Month aware in 2023.

So we were stoked to hear that last weekend, Westway Sports and Fitness Centre hosted an inclusive climbing competition – one of the first run by paraclimbers for paraclimbers.  

Attended and organised by paraclimbers, Yasmin Lazarus, Annabelle Foo, Jeantique Hommel, all part of the UK Paraclimbing Collective (UKPC) and Everyone Active Sporting Champions*, the event aimed to showcase climbing as a sport that is inclusive for all abilities and disabilities.

Westway Sports and Fitness Centre, managed by Everyone Active in partnership with Westway Trust, is a supporter of UKPC and providing accessible competition space to people with a wide and varying range of needs.

An adaptive climber mid climb on an indoor wall.

The competition was in its final round, following an initial round of bouldering in April at HarroWall, and saw 40 competitors each climb five routes tailored to their category’s disability/needs, with their score dependent on how high they reached.

Competing paraclimbers included those with limb differences, categorised as D/deaf, blind, or with mental health or neurodiverse conditions, learning difficulties and other physical disabilities.

Winners were split by category (disability) and gender (mens/womens/gender inclusive), with 14 podium winners in the initial round and 16 winners at Westway Sports and Fitness Centre.

Three members of the UKPC team who organised the event and several of the competitors are part of Everyone Active’s Sporting Champions scheme, which gives talented athletes the opportunity to make use of training support and mentoring sessions to further their careers.

Yasmin Lazarus, paraclimber, part of UKPC and an Everyone Active Sporting Champion comments: “This was the second of a two-part series and was a huge success, reaching a total of around 70 individual paraclimbers across the two competitions with a variety of disabilities and needs.

“It is especially exciting to note that the UKPC team hosting the competition were all volunteers and paraclimbers themselves. In addition, we focused on offering an event which catered for everyone so made a number of adaptations which we felt were incredibly important in making those competing comfortable and delivering a competition which was equally fair for all.”

To ensure the competition was accessible for all, UKPC made a number of adaptations, many of which are not included in other para-sporting events. These included: non-timed routes, colour-coded scorecards and routes for each category, a BSL interpreter, travel fund for competitors coming from afar and walls stripped of other climbs that might interfere for blind/partially sighted climbers.

Andy Davison, contract manager at Everyone Active, said: “We have been delighted to support UKPC in their mission to raise awareness of paraclimbing, showcasing to everyone that the sport can be enjoyed by all those of all abilities and disabilities.

“At Everyone Active, offering inclusive activities is a key focus for us. We believe everyone should have the opportunity to access sport, no matter what age, or level of ability or disability. We look forward to continuing to work with UKPC in the future.”