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Qualification Boulder men report

Tsukuru Hori © Giulio Malfer

Tsukuru Hori © Giulio Malfer

All the hot favourites qualify for the Semi-final. The provisional ranking is led by Hori (JPN) and Lachat (SUI). Others to qualify include the Italians Preti, Moroni and Scarperi, as well as Ondra (Cze) and Fischhuber (Aut).

Arco Climbing Stadium, Friday 15 July, 12 o’clock: the story of the World Championship has just begun! It’s sunny today but a few clouds anticipate that the day might not be that scorching hot after all. Once again, the climbing gods smile at Arco. The excitement is tangible: the wait for this special moment has been so long that it now feels as if the dream is about to begin… but this only lasts for a moment. Just the time to register the vast crowd of competitors: 145 in total, from 56 nations and split into two groups… And before you know it, the competition begins, with some immediate surprises in store.

They say you can see a champion a mile off, by how he immediately gets down to business.  Or maybe not, seeing how Kilian Fischhuber started this qualification round. The Austrian champ was first out in ‘Group A’ and… failed!  A first major upset? No way! Because Kilian climbed faultlessly and topped out on the 3 successive boulder problems all first go. He then battled hard against the last problem and, after 4 assaults, finally topped out, ending his run with 4 tops in 7 attempts. Although he didn’t take the sweepstakes he passed the qualifiers, as was to be expected. But he doesn’t lead the provisional ranking because he had to battle against the skill and talent of Tsukuru Hori: the Japanese climbed superbly, kept hot on Fischhuber’s heels and then sneaked in front of him thanks to the attempts needed (a mere 2 less than the Austrian). What a photofinish! And this what makes bouldering so beautiful!

While Group A got to grips with their problems, in Group B a trio of favourites battled it out for provisional first based on the number of attempts needed, seeing that all sent 4 tops (the magical starting number today!). First out was super Russian Dmitry Sharafutdinov who sent 4 consecutive tops in 12 attempts before failing on the last problem. He qualified for the Semis, despite this performance not placing his top of the class of this first step towards the world podium. Being provisional leader isn’t the end-all and be-all, but it is certainly important from a psychological point of view.

Cedric Lachat © Anna Piunova

Cedric Lachat © Anna Piunova

The reason why Sharafutdinov didn’t lead is because of the usual, incredible Cédric Lachat who pulled 4 tops in 7 attempts out of the hat. He is followed by another great pretender to World gold and one of the main players in this competition: Adam Ondra from the Czech Republic. The young climbing magician sent 4 problems (in 3 attempts more than Lachat) demonstrating his usual, disarming ability and self-belief. Having said that, even he failed on that “evil” 5th problem which remained unclimbed… Perhaps it came about by chance, but the same happened on problem #1 in Group B: the only one which Fischhuber, Hori and all the rest failed to send. In truth though little is left to chance and this just goes to show how well the route setters managed to render the two different groups equal.

But let’s return to the competition and the great news for Italy. Gabriele Moroni, Lucas Preti and Scarperi all qualified, and with 3 tops in 11 attempts Gabriele Moroni is placed provisional 7th in Group B. The climber from Novara climbed well and things could have turned out even better had he managed to send #3 which he only just failed to send… Lucas Preti performed a great little miracle in Group A: after having waited hours and set off extremely late he sent 3 problems and placed 3rd in Group A, while Scarperi clinched two tops and scraped in to qualify last for the Semifinal. Fantastic! This is ample for today, the road ahead is both long and difficult and a quick glance at the other Semi-finalists is all one needs to realise what lies in store.

In Group A, apart from the aforementioned Hori, Fischhuber and PretiSean McColl (CAN) Thomas Tauporn (GER) and Martin Stranik (CZE) qualified with three tops. They are followed by Loïc Gaidioz (FRA), Rustam Gelmanov (RUS) and Gullsten Anthony (FIN) and, last but not least, Stefan Scarperi (ITA), all with two tops.

The athletes to qualify from Group B, apart from Lachat, Ondra, Sharafutdinov and Moroni, are Stewart Watson (GB), Klemen Becan (SLO), Mykhaylo Shalagin (UKR), Fabien Comina (FRA), all with 3 tops.  While Lukas Ennemose (AUT) and Remo Sommer (SUI) conclude the list of qualifers with two tops each.

We’ll see all of these on Sunday, here at the Climbing Stadium for the Semi-final which promises to be more unpredictable and fought over than ever before. Those who failed to make it include the defending champion, Alexey Rubtsov from Russia who failed to place better than 15th. And also Christian Core, the Italian athlete who won more than anyone else – including the Bouldering World Champion title – and who honoured the competition with 1 top and 14th overall. Another illustrious climber who failed to qualify is Frenchman Guillaume Glairon Mondet , 11th overall and first excluded from Group B. Another strong climber who won’t be competing on Sunday is Stefano Ghisolf… he climbed superbly and right to the very end it seemed as if he would qualify. For the 18-year-old, and for Italy, this is great news for the future.

In the meantime, the World Championship continues tomorrow with the first Female Boulder round. And then, at 21.00, the Climbing Stadium will transform and take on a different appearance for the great Opening Ceremony!

The World Championship story continues…

report by Vinicio Stefanello / planetmountain.com

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