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Boulder Final Women report

Anna Stöhr © Giulio Malfer

Anna Stöhr © Giulio Malfer

Ladies and gentlemen: fate won today’s World Boulder final, blessing those predestined to victory! Anna Stöhr is the new Female World Boulder Champion. Hers was certainly a predestined victory, and this is her second world title after winning at Aviles in 2007. For those who were present at the time, today was certainly a flash back to those days in Spain: four years ago the Austrian Champion qualified for the finals in 6th place. And straight away, in that final, she literally “disintegrated” the problems leaving her opponents with no hope whatsoever. She was simply immense then, as today here in Arco. No, on the contrary, here she excelled even further. Her opponents represented the best of the female bouldering world and she proved better than them by sending all 4 beautiful problems in this final. It goes without saying that she was the only athlete to make the sweepstakes…

But let’s take a step back in time. It all began on problem #1 which Anna Stöhr sent so quickly that many spectators missed it. First out, it immediately became clear that the others would be forced to follow her lead. And his is exactly what Olga Bibik did, followed by Yana Chereshneva, Sasha DiGiulian and Juliane Wurm. The only athlete to fall behind was Japanese Akiyo Noguchi… and everyone including her knew that this was a gap which would become extremely difficult to fill.

In the meantime Stöhr was back on stage and she introduced everyone to the overhanging problem #2 with an impressive flash: she reached the top effortlessly, locking deep, well beyond imagination. It almost looked like child’s play. Looks can be deceptive though, and this was anything but. Only Wurm and DiGiulian topped out first go. Chereshneva managed to climb textbook style with a toehook past the Bonus hold. The crowd erupted! And went wild when Noguchi came out next, battling harder than ever to send problem 3. Which meant that the Japanese had managed to recover some lost ground compared to Bibik and Wurm who failed to send problem #2. The battle was heating up.

Next on the agenda, problem #3. And when Anna Stöhr climbed easily up this boulder which required power, great flexibility and technique, things started to become all too clear. Especially when Sasha Di Giulian didn’t top out. From now on the battle could only be for the lowest podium places. Even if Akiyo Noguchi gave a display of her great class with a superb flash. Just as the truly inspired Juliane Wurm!

But by now the end was near. Everyone waited for the climb of reckoning, for a majestic performance up this last, long problem. Naturally everyone expected this of Anna Stöhr. And the Austrian didn’t wait to be asked twice. In three intense and beautiful attempts she sent the problem and was crowned winner with the audience’s standing ovation. No other athlete managed to equal her. Silver went to eighteen-year-old, highly talented American Sasha DiGiulian. The German athlete Juliane Wurm – the first real surprise of this World Championship – placed third. The remaining great athletes finished in the following order: Yana Chereshneva from Russia, Akiyo Noguchi from Japan and , and the indestructible Olga Bibik from Russia once again. This was a great competition. World class!

report by Vinicio Stefanello / planetmountain.com

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