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Boulder final women: Anna Stöhr superstar

18 July 2010 Redazione Arco2011.it

Anna StöhrIt all boiled down to the final problem. This has never been truer than in the grand female bouldering final. It went down to the wire, on the 4th and last problem, and it was an impeccable, super Anna Stöhr who came up trumps. It comes as no surprise that the Austrian has won the bouldering event here in Arco three times, and today proved to be a thrilling head-to-head against the strong Ukranian Olga Shalagina and the magnificent Japanese Akiyo Noguchi, who finished 2nd and 3rd respectively. But it was also a head-to-head against Russian Olga Bibik who just missed out on not only the podium, but also overall victory. Yes because all four athletes sent 2 of the 4 problems, and were only separated by the number of attempts needed.

Stöhr’s competition was magnificent and victory came after an impressive comeback for while she failed on problems #1 and #2, Olga Bibik started with all guns blazing, sending problem #1 – the only athlete to manage this feat. This was a true lesson of balance, flexibility and total concentration, so much so that the Russian asked the spectators for silence… fantastic.

Bibik was the one to watch out for on problem #2 with her top 4th go. Only Olga Shalagina, another veteran of the world cup circuit did better than her by topping out 2nd go. All the others failed to top out. But then came problem #3 and the wind turned. Bibik failed to make headway, Stöhr on the other hand waltzed up first attempt, just like Shalagina. This problem was also sent by Noguchi (2nd attempt) and Chloé Graftiaux (3 attempts), while Mina Markovic from Slovenia remained empty handed.

This all paved the way for the grand finale. The last problem required pure power but also a great dose of flexibility and technique to stick the final moves and reach the top. Excellent footwork was needed to place them high into a “terrible compression”, while finding just the right position to balance the body. Neither Graftiaux nor Shalagina nor Markovic managed to solve the riddle. Above all though, neither did Bibik, who also injured her shoulder during one of the numerous attempts to stick the starting dyno.

At this point Stöhr had the chance for victory, if she sent the problem first go she’d win. With in-born class Stöhr did just this, the “game” was solved with disarming ease. It was now Noguchi’s turn to battle for a podium position and the Japanese champion didn’t wait to be asked twice. After asking for the crowd’s support she sent the problem 3rd go, winning bronze. Beautiful!

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by Vinicio Stefanello
, translation Nicholas Hobley