Paralympics-Para climbing poised to make debut at LA28

FILE PHOTO: Janet Evans, Chief Athletic Officer, LA28 speaks at the Milken Institute Global Conference 2024 at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., May 8, 2024. REUTERS/David Swanson/File Photo

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - LA28 organisers on Wednesday asked the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) for permission to add para climbing to their list of sports for the Paralympic Games while para surfing did not make the cut.

If approved, para climbing, which like sport climbing has seen a surge in popularity in recent years, would make its debut on the Paralympic stage in a little over four years' time.

LA28 assessed para climbing's global and domestic popularity, its universality at major international events and its cost and complexity in making its proposal.

"LA28 is proud to propose adding para climbing to the Paralympic Sport Program, and to be the first organizing committee in history to propose a new sport for the Paralympic Games," said Janet Evans, chief athlete officer for LA28.

"We would like to thank the International Paralympic Committee for giving us the opportunity to add this exciting sport in 2028.

"We see this as a unique chance to give more athletes the ability to compete on the world's biggest stage while creating an expansive and elite adaptive sport program that exemplifies LA28's commitment to elevating the Paralympic Movement."

If approved, para climbing will join an LA28 program that includes blind football (soccer), boccia, goalball, para archery, para athletics, para badminton, para canoe, para cycling, para equestrian, para judo, para powerlifting and para rowing.

Para swimming, para table tennis, para taekwondo, para triathlon, shooting para sport, sitting volleyball, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair fencing, wheelchair rugby, and wheelchair tennis round out the program.

International Surfing Association (ISA) officials said they were disappointed that LA28 did not propose para surfing for inclusion but thanked organisers for their consideration.

"We are, of course, disappointed in this news, but as surfers, when we miss a wave, we turn and paddle just as hard for the next one," said ISA president Fernando Aguerre, adding that they would target the Brisbane Paralympic Games in 2032.

The proposal to add para climbing will be voted on by the IPC Governing Board on June 26.

The LA28 Paralympic Games will take place Aug. 15-27, 2028.

(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Additional reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Toby Davis)

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