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CLIMBING - Int News 06 Apr, 2024

Route to Paris Stops in Keqiao for Opening World Cup
Sports Bulletin ReportKeqiao (China): Just 109 days before the start of the Olympic Games Paris 2024, the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) World Cup Series 2024 are kicking off in Keqiao, China, with the first Boulder World Cup competition on Chinese territory since Wujiang 2019.Scheduled over three days, from 8 to 10 April, Keqiao 2024 is meant to be the first half of a double-header that will also include the World Cup Wujiang 2024, featuring Lead and Speed competitions and scheduled from 12 to 14 April.Of the 16 climbers that have already qualified for Paris 2024 in the two Boulder & Lead event, 10 are registered to compete in Keqiao, including Tokyo 2020 gold medallist Janja Garnbret and bronze medallist Jakob Schubert of Austria.Home favourite Zhang Yuetong, who secured her ticket to France at last year’s IFSC Asian Qualifer in Jakarta, Indonesia, will headline a big contingent of 14 Chinese athletes, including Olympian Pan Yufei, World Cup medallist Luo Zhilu, and a group of young first-time participants.Along with the support of the home crowd, Zhang and Pan will also have the advantage of having known the walls and its profiles at the Asian Games Hangzhou 2022, which hosted Sport Climbing competitions in the very same venue: the Shaoxing Keqiao Yangshan Climbing Center.

CLIMBING - Int News 07 Mar, 2024

IFSC: Guiyang, China to host 2024 World Youth Championships
Sports Bulletin ReportTorino (Italy): Seven years later, the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) Youth World Championships will make its return to China, as Guiyang is set to be the second city in the country to host the event – the first one being Guangzhou in 2016.Kicking off on Thursday, 22 August, only a few days after the end of the Paris Olympics, the Youth Worlds are the largest IFSC event in the calendar by number of participating athletes, matching perfectly with the 4.3 million people that populates the Guiyang municipality. The schedule of the event, running until Saturday, 31 August, will feature competitions in all Climbing disciplines – Boulder, Lead, and Speed – and three age groups – Under 16, Under 18, and Under 20. At last year’s Youth World Championships in Seoul, South Korea, Belgium’s Hannes Van Duysen added two accolades to the World Cup silver he won in Hachioji, Japan, only a few months earlier – gold in men’s U20 Lead, bronze in men’s U20 Boulder. Similarly, Sara Copar of Slovenia won the women’s U20 Lead gold medal and placed second in the women’s U20 Boulder event. “My experience at last year's Youth World Championships experience was awesome. I think the organisers did a great job and so did the routesetters. The routes and boulders were amazing. I was able to fight hard but also enjoy while climbing,” said Copar, born in 2005 and still eligible to compete at the 2024 edition. “Competing in such big competitions is always something special. There is no place for mistakes, and you really must show up and do your best. That is why those competitions can be stressful. But if the atmosphere is good and if you have good people around you who support you, everything is possible.“Everything was happening so fast and there was not much time to process what was happening in between the rounds. In the end, I achieved something, which still feels insane with people who really mean a lot to me.” Indeed, with the two medals won in Seoul, the Slovenian climber from Lasko brought her total medal count at the Youth Worlds to five golds and three silvers, all won between 2019 and 2023 in Boulder, Lead, and Combined. She concluded: “The best part outside of the competition was seeing all my friends from other countries again and meeting some new ones. We had so much fun there. We were exploring the city and trying new things together. It was an amazing experience.” 

CLIMBING - Int News 20 Feb, 2024

Palestine Admitted as Latest Member Federation of IFSC
Sports Bulletin ReportTorino (Italy): The Executive Board of the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) has voted to include the Palestine Social Sport Climbing Club Association (PCA) as the newest Member Federation of the organisation. The PCA is the 26th IFSC Member Federation in the Asian continent, and is led by President Hiba Shaheen, Vice President Tawfiq Alnejada, and Secretary General Taher Sharaf. The admission of the Palestinian Federation, along with the ones of Federations representing Bolivia, Guam, and Nigeria, will be ratified at the XXI IFSC General Assembly, taking place in Santiago, Chile, on 22 and 23 March. 

CLIMBING - Int News 11 Nov, 2023

Japan’s Anraku tops stellar first senior to confirm Paris ticket
Sports Bulletin ReportJakarta (Indonesia): Japan’s Anraku Sorato continued his stellar 2023 to secure a ticket to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games in the men’s boulder and lead competitions while Indonesia with one man and one woman got a ticket to Paris in Boulder & Lead and one man and one woman in Speed from the Asian region after showing acceptable performance in the Paris 2024 Olympic qualification event.Men’s Boulder and Lead:Japan’s ANRAKU Sorato continued his stellar 2023 to secure a ticket to the Paris 2024 Olympic GamesThe first ever winner of the IFSC World Cup Boulder series and Lead series was the only climber to top the Lead route and all four BouldersThe 16-year-old scored 199.7pts only falling short of a perfect score by attempting Boulder 4 four times before toppingAnraku’s win means Japan has filled its allotted country quota of two men’s Olympic places with NARASAKI Tomoa securing a spot at the World Championships Bern 2023Tokyo 2020 Olympian PAN Yufei (CHN) was second overall on 164.9pts and was the only climber to challenge Anraku in the Lead roundLEE Dohyun (KOR) was second after the Boulder round but could not capitalise on the good form in the Lead – he finished in third with 132.5ptsOGATA Yoshiyuki (JPN) was fourth with 117.2pts, NARASAKI Meichi was fifth with 70.6pts, CHON Jongwon (KOR) was sixth with 66.8pts, Raviandi RAMADHAN (INA) was seventh with 57.7pts and SONG Yunchan (KOR) was eighth with 23.0ptsAnaku Sorato said: “I’m so happy to get the Olympic ticket. I was quite calm on the Boulders and I performed well. I didn’t know the scores in Lead and I don’t want to know them, I just focus on myself and getting to the top. Now I want a gold medal in Paris.”

CLIMBING - Int News 09 Nov, 2023

Sports Bulletin ReportJakarta (Indonesia): Fifty-two men, Thirty-nine women, and just four tickets for Paris Olympics 2024. The next stop on the Road to Paris 2024 is the IFSC Asian Qualifier Jakarta which will give see four more climbers take a massive step closer to realising their dream of an Olympic appearance at next year’s summer showpiece.One men’s and one women’s qualifier in both the Boulder & Lead discipline and Speed disciplines will emerge from what will be a hotly contested battle at the newly built outdoor venue in the Gelora Bung Karno, Jakarta, Indonesia.The Asian region already has four athletes confirmed to become Olympians with Japan’s Ai Mori and Narasaki Tomoa in the Boulder & Lead and Indonesia’s Dewi Made Rita Kusuma Dewi and China’s Long Jinbao in the Speed securing their spots at the IFSC World Championships in Bern in August, and more will join by the end of the week.A red-hot favourite in the men’s Boulder & Lead is Japan’s Anraku Sorato. The 16-year-old had the great Jakob Schubert of Austria singing his praises at Bern 2023 and he has been living up to the hype. Becoming the first ever IFSC World Cup Boulder series holder and Lead series holder in the same season, Anraku is currently on a run of three Lead World Cup golds and a Boulder & Lead win at the recent Asian Games.Joining Anraku on the podium in Hangzhou was China’s Tokyo 2020 Olympian Pan Yufei and South Korea’s Lee Dohyun, and they will once again be vying for the top step. Lee’s compatriot Chon Jongwon is also in action looking to make a second Olympic appearance and Japan’s Narasaki Meichi will be hoping to take the same flight as his brother Tomoa to the French capital next year.SCHEDULEThursday 9 Nov: Men’s and women’s Boulder & Lead qualificationFriday 10 Nov: Men’s and women’s Boulder & Lead semi-finalsSaturday 11 Nov: Men’s and women’s Boulder & Lead finalsSunday 12 Nov: Men’s and women’s Speed qualification and finals

CLIMBING - Int News 25 Oct, 2023

Sports Bulletin ReportSantiago (Chile): Natalia Grossman won the USA's fourth Olympic quota at Santiago 2023, as the Team USA won four golds, four silver, and one bronze in Sport Climbing at the Pan American Games Santiago 2023. Most importantly, the US team pocketed four Olympic quota places out of four – the last one being won by Natalia Grossman in the women’s Boulder & Lead event.Grossman then carried her 84.3 points on to the decisive Lead phase, where she needed to reach the higher section of the wall to secure both the gold medal and the ticket to Paris 2024 – which she eventually did. Grossman won 88.1 more points and burst into tears as soon as she realised the outcome of her fantastic performance.Grossman said: “I feel just so grateful and proud of all the work I have put in. I changed a lot in this past couple of months, in my climbing and in my life, and to see it pay off feels really good.“I tend to run really warm when I’m climbing, for some reason, which is funny. So I always have fans on, and even though it was pretty cold tonight, I still had three fans to keep my hands cold. Although I’ve put some pants on for the Lead route, because it got a little chilly!”Seven points behind Grossman, in silver medal position, USA’s Brooke Raboutou climbed last on the Lead wall, probably knowing she could not take first place anymore. Still, she put together the best performance of the Lead phase, taking 96.0 points and adding them to the 69.4 she previously won on the Boulder wall, for a total of 165.4.Canada’s Alannah Yip also placed on the podium, crowning a good Pan Am Games campaign with a bronze medal. The experienced climber from Vancouver started her final round with a two-top performance on the Boulder wall, where she won 64.7 points, and followed up with a solid result on the Lead one, taking 64.0 more points and closing with 128.7.

CLIMBING - Int News 17 Oct, 2023

Sports Bulletin ReportTorino (Italy): The International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) has unfolded the calendar of events for 2024, featuring nine World Cups, and three Paraclimbing World Cup stages, as the opening event will be a first for the IFSC World Cup Series, with the Chinese city of Shanghai organising the inaugural Boulder competition.The first stop will be in Shanghai, scheduled from 16 to 19 May, while the second and conclusive event will be organised in Budapest, Hungary, kicking-off on 20 June and concluding on 23 June – the Olympic Day.Spotlights will then move back to the IFSC World Cup Series 2024, with the event in Innsbruck, Austria, being the final chance for Olympians to compete in both Boulder and Lead at the same event. The lead up to Paris 2024 will be at its peak in July, when two French cities – Chamonix and Briançon – will organise the last two World Cups before the Olympic Games.The Olympic Qualifier Series will award the final set of quota places for the Olympic Games Paris 2024 – surely the most anticipated event of the season – which will open on 26 July and close on 11 August. Sport Climbing competitions are scheduled from 5 to 10 August.The second half of August, as usual, will see the yearly Youth World Championships take place in China. The exact dates and location will be communicated at a later stage.Koper, Slovenia, and Prague, Czech Republic, are going to be the host cities of the two World Cup events organised in September, respectively in the Lead and Boulder disciplines.Finally, for the first time ever, the closing event of the IFSC World Cup Series will see all six season trophies being awarded at the same time. The city of Seoul, South Korea, in fact, will host the ninth and conclusive stage of the Series, with competitions in all three disciplines taking place over a span of five days.Schedule (IFSC World Cup Series 2024):9 to 10 April, IFSC World Cup in Shanghai, China – Boulder;12 to 14 April, IFSC World Cup in Wujiang, China – Lead, Speed;3 to 5 May, IFSC World Cup in Salt Lake City, USA – Boulder, Speed;26 to 30 June, IFSC World Cup in Innsbruck, Austria – Boulder, Lead;12 to 14 July, IFSC World Cup in Chamonix, France – Lead, Speed;17 to 19 July, IFSC World Cup in Briançon, France – Lead, Speed;6 to 7 September, IFSC World Cup in Koper, Slovenia – Lead;20 to 22 September, IFSC World Cup in Prague, Czech Republic – Boulder; and2 to 6 October, IFSC World Cup in Seoul, South Korea – Boulder, Lead, Speed.Coming from one of the most successful seasons in terms of engagement and popularity, the Paraclimbing World Cup Series 2024 will comprise of three events, scheduled in Salt Lake City, Innsbruck, and a still to-be-defined location in France.Schedule (IFSC World Cup Series 2024):IFSC Paraclimbing World Cup in Salt Lake City, USA – dates to be defined;24 to 25 June, IFSC Paraclimbing world Cup in Innsbruck, Austria; andIFSC Paraclimbing World Cup in France – dates and location to be defined.

CLIMBING - Int News 07 Oct, 2023

Mori takes Asian Games gold medal to close out competition
Sports Bulletin ReportHangzhou (China): Sport Climbing at the 19th Asian Games came to a close with Japan’s Mori Ai taking the women’s Boulder & Lead title at the Shaoxing Keqiao Yangshan Sport Climbing Centre under heavy rain.The final eight women who qualified from the semi-finals earlier in the day unfortunately couldn’t take to the mats for the final round as persistent rainfall caused the cancellation of the finale. That meant the standings after the semi-finals decided the final rankings.It meant Mori once again visited the top step of an international competition, but the young athlete just loves to climb and show the world what she can do: “I really wanted to climb the final. Qualification and semi-finals I was climbing well, qualification I maybe could have done a little better, I wanted to have a stronger performance. “I’m actually quite sad to win without climbing the final. Now I’ll go back home to Japan and get ready for next season.”Mori took gold with a semi-final score of 199.73, the same score as silver medallist Seo Chaehyun, but the tiebreaker was the qualification results in which Mori led.Just like Mori, a medal was bittersweet for Seo: “Honestly, I’m not that happy about this medal. I think I could have gone for gold in the final and earn the medal I deserved with my climbing. It’s not even about the medal, it’s disappointing to not get the challenge of the final round.”The next stop for Seo is the Asian Olympic qualification event in Jakarta, Indonesia, but despite the ending in Hangzhou, the South Korean climber has taken the positives to help her push for Paris 2024: “I think after this competition I am now good at this format. I worked a lot for these Games and I think it will work out in Jakarta. I really want to get a gold now more than ever.”Completing the podium with a bronze medal was Zhang Yuetong who gave the crowd and volunteers who persevered the wet conditions something to cheer on home soil at the medal presentation ceremony. Zhang posted a semi-final score of 175.73 for her medal.The other climbers who would have liked to have shown their medal winning potential were Japan’s Matsufuji Anon who finished in fourth, South Korea’s Sa Sol who finished fifth, China’s Luo Zhilu in sixth, Iran’s Elnaz Rekabi seventh and Kazakhstan’s Margarita Agambayeva eighth.

CLIMBING - Int News 04 Oct, 2023

Asian Games 2023: Sports Climbing event in full swing in Hangzhou
Sports Bulletin ReportHangzhou (China): There was an eruption of sound at the Shaoxing Keqiao Yangshan Sport Climbing Centre as hosts China claimed a golden double topping both the men’s and women’s Speed Relay at the 19th Asian Games. Making it into the finals in second place behind Indonesia in qualification, the men’s team of Wang Xinshang, Wu Peng and Zhang Liang came through a quarter-final against Thailand, a semi-final against Singapore and overcame the strong Indonesian trio in the final.With three Speed climbers comes three opportunities for false starts making tense competition in the Speed Relay, and it was the Indonesian team who succumb to the heart-breaking scenario of a false start on leg three in the gold medal match-up. It meant whilst Team China could celebrate gold, Leonardo Veddriq, Kiromal Katibin and Rahmad Adi Mulyono had to settle for silver.The beaten semi-finalists, South Korea and Singapore fought it out for bronze with Jung Yongjun, Lee Seungbeom and Lee Yongsu making the podium for South Korea. Some early slips from Team Singapore meant South Korea just had to keep it clean to beat Bin Mohamad Kamal Amar Hassan, Denzel Jit Yi Chua and Bing Qian Tan. The final times were 17.82 to South Korea and 23.16 to Singapore.Deng Lijuan, Niu Di and Zhang Shaoqin from China and Desak Made Rita Kusuma Dewi, Nurul Iqamah and Rajiah Sallsabillah from Indonesia were evenly matched throughout the competition, and even closer until the very last hold. A close race came down to a stutter at the very last jump to tap as an Indonesia slip gave the advantage to the host nation, which they happily took. The final race result was 20.92 seconds for China and 23.50 to Indonesia. The semi-final saw Choi Nawoo, Jeong Jimin and Noh Heeju of South Korea take on Assel Marlenova, Tamara Ulzhabeyeva and Adeliya Utesheva of Kazakhstan. Neither team had particularly clean runs with a Kazakhstan slip handing the initiative to South Korea, before they returned the favour to let their opponents back in the race.The final South Korean climber just managed to compose herself to bring home the bronze with a time of 26.90 compared to Kazakhstan’s 27.99.The previous night saw the individual honours handed out as Indonesia’s world champion Desak Made Rita Kusuma Dewi took gold and an Asian record and Iran’s Reza Alipour Shenazandifard defended his men’s crown at the Shaoxing Keqiao Yangshan Sport Climbing Centre.Coming up against world record holder Veddriq Leonardo of Indonesia, Alipour Shenazandifard triumphed. In the final against home favourite Long Jinbao, Alipour Shenazandifard triumphed. While others around where stumbling he was mister consistent.The final saw the slowest time for Alipour Shenazandifard with a 5.30 enough to claim gold after Long fell, and with it the emotion, and roars, poured out. Long had to settle for silver.Leonardo had come very close to being eliminated in the first round of finals when a big slip saw him make a stunning comeback to by just 0.15 seconds. His luck ran out though in the semi-finals which set up the bronze medal match up with China’s Wu Peng whose false start put him in the small final.In qualification Leonardo set a new Asian Games record of 4.97. He lowered that in the small final to 4.95 to take bronze and overcome just a little some of the disappointing runs he experienced during the competition.Desak Made Rita Kusuma Dewi was the one to beat in Hangzhou after the Indonesian took the world title in Bern, Switzerland, in August. With that win Dewi also booked her place at the Olympic Games in Paris 2024.Now, the Indo climber has added another title with not only a win at the Asian Games, but a new Asian record to go with it in a whirlwind few months.Finishing top of qualification, Dewi progressed through the finals to set up a showdown with home favourite Deng Lijuan. In the final round, Dewi produced a 6.36 to take gold and the new Asian record, and she needed it as Deng herself lowered the previous record also with a 6.43. But, on this occasion, it was only quick enough for silver.In the small final there was another Indonesia-China shoot out for the bronze medal, and once again Indonesia triumphed as Rajiah Sallsabillah took advantage of a fall from Niu Di to stand with teammate Dewi on the podium.With the top four places going to Indonesia and the home nation China, all eyes will be on the draw for the Relay tomorrow as both nations will have eyes on gold when they add another climber to their roster and race for team glory. 

CLIMBING - Int News 25 Aug, 2023

Sports Bulletin ReportSeoul (South Korea): The men’s and women’s U20 world champions were decided on day eight of the 2023 IFSC Climbing Youth World Championships in Seoul, South Korea, as Japan’s Sekiguchi Junta finally got his gold and France’s Selma Elhadj Mimoune finished on a high.With the six best climbers advancing from the semi-finals earlier in the day, it was Elhadj Mimoune who showed her strength and skills to top all the four final round boulders in the women’s competition – the only climber to do so.The French athlete started strong by flashing the first two boulders, and doing so also started to create some separation from the field by topping the third. Only Slovenia’s Sara Copar could keep pace.On the final and decisive problem of the day however, Copar could only zone which gave Elhadj Mimoune the opportunity to secure gold with a top, an opportunity she would not pass up.Elhadj Mimoune said: “I am really happy. It’s my last competition in youth and I really wanted to have a good finish to take into the seniors. It was hard to deal with the pressure, there were a lot of tops in semis, a few less in finals, but I told myself that’s the game and let’s play. I’m just super happy.”Copar’s three from three tops was enough to take the silver medal, which was confirmed when she got the zone on the final boulder. It kept her ahead of Spain’s Iziar Martinez Almendros who took bronze with two tops and four zones and added to Copar’s U20 Lead title from earlier in the event.The other finalists all topped one boulder and topped all four with Japan’s Takeuchi Ai finishing in fourth, Italy’s Irina Daziano in fifth and Germany’s Anna Maria Apel in sixth.In the men’s competition, it was fourth time lucky for Sekiguchi as he claimed gold on the final boulder. The Japanese climber was the only finalist to top the problem and with it upgrade his previous bronze and silver Youth Worlds medals to finally stand atop the podium.Sekiguchi said: “It’s really unbelievable. It’s my fourth time of trying to win a Youth Worlds gold and I’ve finally done it, so it’s a real relief. I couldn’t be happier.”Falling just short of gold, Germany’s Yannick Nagel took silver with three tops and three zones – one behind the Japanese winner. He topped all of the first three problems but came unstuck at the final hurdle missing the zone.Joining Sekiguchi and Nagel on the podium was the U20 Lead world champion, Belgium’s Hannes Van Duysen. With two tops and four zones, the Belgian now has a 2023 Boulder bronze to add to his Youth Worlds tally.Also with two tops and four zones, Japan’s Tamiya Eito took more attempts so was just off the podium in fourth. Slovenia’s Lovro Crep was fifth and Spain’s Guillermo Peinado Franganillo was sixth, both topping one boulder.