The final preparations are underway, the construction of the event site is already in its final stages and the international athletes are slowly but surely trickling into the Innsbruck Climbing Center.
"We were very pleased to be able to implement this great event together with the Ministry, Unisport Austria and the University of Innsbruck - it was a great cooperation of all involved from the very beginning. When you look outside and see the almost completed construction, it really starts to tingle. I am convinced that it will be a sensational event at the absolute top level. The eleven-strong line-up consists not only of squad athletes, but also of former top athletes. In my opinion, this mix is very good, especially since so there are different approaches, objectives and challenges" explains KVÖ Managing Director Heiko Wilhelm.
Combination of top sport and training
In practice, the combination between the athletic career and an important training in different sports is often addressed. In climbing, this interrelationship is an essential part in the development of athletes.
"In our sport, there are hardly any athletes without education or training - whether it's a university degree, a vocational high school or a federal secondary school with a sports branch. This is a very important approach for us. It's not always easy to combine, but it works very well in practice. There are some good examples from the past such as world champions or Olympic medal winners who have taken the educational route - this initiative naturally makes us happy as an association," says Wilhelm.
The last pieces of the puzzle are put together
The final countdown is on and the opening ceremony next Monday is getting closer and closer. Since the beginning of June, work has been diligently carried out on the venue construction and now the Innsbruck Climbing Center is slowly filling with life. The first international athletes have already arrived and have familiarized themselves with the general conditions in Austria's climbing mecca.
"We as the Austrian Climbing Federation always put a lot of effort into our events, but when you then see many satisfied faces at the event, all the efforts have definitely been worth it. For the whole planning and implementation process, our event experience has helped us a lot, especially since the synergies can always be used better, and the topic of sustainability is also very important. But we can't just be proud of the event site, the supporting program also offers visitors and athletes a lot and makes the most beautiful parts of Innsbruck appealing to them," reports Julia Pinggera, who joined the team as event organizer at the end of 2020. "It was a big challenge at the beginning to get involved in an ongoing project. There have been some challenges, but we have mastered them well and, above all, quickly. The pieces of the puzzle have been coming together more and more - we're looking forward to seeing the full picture of the FISU World University Championships starting next week."
A few days ago Tobias Plangger (ÖAVInnsbruck) was not only able to run a new Austrian speed record in Salt Lake City (USA), but also took the first historic podium place in the World Cup. A symbol for the great development of the Tyrolean in the last two years. "Almost two years ago we completely changed the project Speed and enjoyed a lot of scientific input from the University of Innsbruck, the Olympic Center Tyrol and many other institutions. These were many important building blocks that gave our athletes a strong foundation - personal tinkering then also played its part. At the end of the day, though, it's the performance on the wall that counts. It's incredible to see how quickly this change and the processes have taken hold," says Wilhelm, underlining the importance of science.
For Laura Stöckler (ÖAV Haag) the season has not yet gone according to plan. Health problems have somewhat upset her plans. Most recently, the speed star finally started the new season at the European Cup in Arco (ITA). "I am on the road to recovery, but not yet at one hundred percent. It was a tough decision for me to skip the first three World Cups and take a training block at home. In retrospect, it was the right decision and things have progressed properly. At the Uni World Cup I will concentrate on myself and try to get a good time out of it. At the moment, I don't want to focus on a fixed placing," Stöckler says.
While the 22-year-old will approach the FISU World University Championships without any pressure, Tobias Plangger's objective is already more clearly defined: "The medals are wonderful, I immediately liked them at the press conference. Of course I want to take one home, but there is still a lot of work to do. It's important that I make it to the final first, and then you have to look from run to run anyway. My personal expectations are certainly very high, but that's what drives me day by day."