Back in 2013, Jake Sanchez had undergone an amputation surgery. Like many others who experienced limb loss, he also went through a period of depression and doubt. But Jake persevered and came out the other side running and even climbing.
Just 5 years after his amputation, Jake competed in the Paraclimbing World Championships held in Innsbruck, Austria last September 13-14, 2018. He went up against adaptive climbers from all over the world and, even though he didn’t win, he still left the competition like a winner.
“The 2018 World Championships was an amazing experience! Having the opportunity to climb with the best in the world and cheering the rest of my USA climbing team has been a blast,” Jake said. “The routes were beautiful and fun. I still can’t believe I got the chance to climb on them. I learned a lot, and I now know what I need to work on. I didn’t make it into finals, but I’m excited to go back home and start training for the next competition. I can only go up from here.”
Jake began his adaptive climbing journey by running. In 2014, one year after his surgery, the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) awarded Jake a grant through which he received an Össur Flex-Run. Meanwhile, Amputee Store donated the carbon socket and setup, as well as the Össur Sport Liner and Iceross Sleeve.
And with a dynamic test socket also designed by Amputee Store, Jake joined the Össur running clinic in Long Beach, CA where Bob Gailey, an expert in the field of amputee running, offered his coaching services. Through Bob’s valuable insight, Jake was able to improve his running mechanics. After regaining his strength, Jake pursued climbing.
“Climbing changed my life. After losing my leg, I also lost who I was. Climbing helped me find myself again—it made me better. I’m stronger physically, mentally, and emotionally, and I owe that to climbing,” he said.
New Paraclimbing Champions Declared in Innsbruck
The last Paraclimbing World Championships attracted para-athletes from different parts of the world. They competed in various categories, from visual impairment to arm and leg amputees.
In the Women’s AU-2 (forearm amputee) category, Solenne Piret off France took first place, followed by Melinda Vigh of Hungary in second place, and Maureen Beck of the United States in third.
In the Men’s AU-2 category, Matthew Phillips of Great Britain won first place, followed by Trevor Smith of the United States and Maksim Maiorov of Russia in second and third places, respectively.
For the Men’s and Women’s B2 (visual impairment) category, Justin Salas of the United States and Abigail Robinson of Great Britain won the gold. In the Men’s and Women’s AL-2 (leg amputee) category, France’s Thierry Delarue and Lucie Jarrige came out on top.
Alessio Cornamusini of Italy won the gold for Men’s RP-1, while Koichiro Kobayashi of Japan finished first in the Men’s B1 (visual impairment) category. There were no women competitors for both groups.
Finally, Hannah Baldwin of Great Britain and Behnam Khalaji of Iran took the top spots for Women’s and Men’s RP-2, respectively. For the Women’s and Men’s RP-3 category, Aika Yoshida of Japan and Romain Pagnoux of France won the gold metals.
For the complete list of winners, visit the IFSC website.