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Boulder Final Men report

Dmitry Sharafutdinov @ Giulio Malfer

Dmitry Sharafutdinov @ Giulio Malfer

How great is bouldering? It’s immense if played out like in this Arco World Championship Male Boulder Final. The recipe is simple. Put 6 great champions into the arena and put them in front of 4 problems which are out of the world. The result will be a game played top after top, one invention after the next, without anyone holding back, to produce an unforgettable sporting spectacle. This is exactly what happened tonight in front of the huge audience which experienced each performance and acrobatic feat and saw it turn into magic. True magic was created. And the greatest wizerd of all was Dimitry Sharafutidinov who won the Boulder World Title thanks to his masterful battle. Tonight he became the king of Boulder. All the more so because he competed against magic Adam Ondra and an amazing Rustam Gelmanov.

It’s worth mentioning that this is the second World Title after Avilés in 2007 for Dmitry “Dima” Sharafutdinov – the Russian athlete from Ekaterinburg. This could be considered a twist of fate, but here in Arco the exact same result was achieved as in the 2007 World Championship, with both Stöhr and Sharafutdinov winning gold once again. Is it fate, or did both athletes perform perfectly once again? What is certain is that both athletes made bouldering and sports climbing great today. A small anecdote: Dima (whose nickname is scarf) trains on a tiny campus board, 2 by 3 metres, on his own at home since there are no other boulderers as strong as he is close to home. This helps us comprehend the determination and passion of this 24-year-old…

But let’s get back to the competition. Fireworks were set off right from the start on boulder #1 which, were it to be defined as being acrobatic, this simply wouldn’t do it justice. A start with two impossible lunges followed by a delicate mantle to the top. Well, all sorts of things happened! Starting with Cédric Lachat’s lightning flash; when all seemed lost, he pulled his trick out of the hat. Then it was Adam Ondra’s turn to distort any kind of logic, topping out on his second attempt. The magician didn’t even bother with the dyno, finding a perfect direct move on his second attempt. Then it was the turn of the two Russian athletes. First Gelmanov got down to business in 4 attempts. King Sharafutdinov entered the arena and sent the problem first go… the message now became loud and clear. Especially since Kilian Fischhuber and Thomas Tauporn failed to find a solution to this game.

Rustam Gelmanov @ Anna Piunova

Rustam Gelmanov @ Anna Piunova

On the second boulder problem the story repeated itself. It seemed impossible. And it took Fischhuber 4 attempts to produce one of his tricks right in the nick of time. Thomas Tauporn from Germany tried over and over again but failed. Ondra was next out and (almost) walked up the problem, reaching the top with amazing contortions. Then the Russian duo arrived: Gelmanov and Sharafutdinov ascended like lightning and didn’t miss a beat. Impressive.

At this point, on the third boulder problem, Sharafutdinov lay ahead of the rest of the field. Ondra lay provisional second with one attempt more on boulder #1, while Gelmanov trailed in third, separated by 4 attempts. The “nightmare” 3rd problem had tiny holds and perfect balancy moves. Lachat solved the problem after 6 attempts. Tauporn climbed it in 5 goes. And Fischhuber, as always on great form, attempted an impossible comeback sending it in 4 tries. Ondra then appeared and climbed it perfectly. While Gelmanov needed 2 attempts to reach the top, just like Sharafutdinov. At this point Ondra and Sharafutdinov were joint-equal, and boulder #4, the last problem, was going to prove decisive.

The tension was palpable. The crowd no longer knew what sort of magic to expect and the show was one of those that remain deeply ingrained. But there was no time to stop and think because the time had come for the last problem, the one that would decide it all, just like in all perfect competitions… Lachat failed to find the right solution. Nor did Tauporn and Fischhuber. Out came Ondra and in came the moment of truth, and he produced a magical top 4th go. Tireless Gelmanov topped out 3rd go. Now it was time for Sharafutdinov: he had three attempts to win this Championship because, even if he equlled Ondra, his better Semi result would guarantee him victory. But perhaps the super-Russian didn’t want to take any risks: he set off and… climbed straight to the top. Words fail for climbs like this one… Also because the spectators had their say in the matter and cheered on the new king of Bouldering- It was fantastic, a bouldering anthology.

PS A special mention to all the climbers, the spectators and the route setters Laurent Laporte, Alberto Gnerro, Luca Parisse and Manuel Hassler. Hats off for their truly beautiful problems.

report by Vinicio Stefanello / planetmountain.com

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