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Qualification Lead women report


The long and intense Difficulty journey… there is something about Difficulty competitions (the “modern” term is Lea) which distinguishes them from all the rest. We noticed it today, too, during the first day of the Lead Qualification. The rope competition has it’s own times. It isn’t all over in the blink of an eye, like the boulder. It’s not faster than a missile, like Speed. Rather, times ticks by like on a journey, is won centimetre after centimetre, hold after hold to climb as high as possible. The athletes know that the chain is the goal, and that only a perfect climb will take them there. Their ascent must find the right rhythm. The right amount of energy for each move. Otherwise they’ll fall and fly…

Yes, to not fly. To not finish prematurely: this is the beauty (and, if you want, the illumination) of Lead. This beauty was enjoyed during this truly demanding first round by Johanna Ernst from Austria and Jain Kim from Korea, the two top seeds in this World Championship. And also, to some surprise, her excellent teammate, the 17-year-old Magdalena Röck. All three topped out on both their qualification routes in Group A. This was no mean task. The only one to emulate them in Group B was (noblesse obblige) the super and multiple champion  Angela Eiter from Austria, the other great pretender to the throne. All the others had to make do with just one top, and many qualified with out even clipping any chain whatsoever. Because no prisoners were taken today at the Climbing Stadium and the show (for this reason too) was spectacular.

So, back to the competition… Right behind Ernst, Kim, Röck and Eiter – who qualified with a perfect run of two tops – was another athlete from the Austrian squad, Christine Schranz. No other Semifinalist reached the end of the route and they qualified as follows: Maja Vidmar (Slo), Sasha DiGiulian (Usa), Natalija Gros (Slo), Yuka Kobayashi (JPN), Barbara Bacher (Aut), Katherine Choong (Sui), Hélène Janicot (Fra), Rebekka Stotz (Sui) and Julia Serrière (Fra). As everyone knows, those who have podium ambitions are certainly Vidmar, DiGiulian (silver on Sunday in the Boulder World Championship) and Gros. But the long Lead World Championship journey has only begun… and nothing is lost. What was important today was to qualify for the next round.

As did, in Group B, Yana Chereshneva (Rus), Caroline Ciavaldini (Fra), Katharina Posch (Aut), Alexandra Eyer (Sui), Charlotte Durif (Fra) all with one top on the second route and a good performance on the second route. Climbing high even without reaching the end of the route is what Italian Jenny Lavarda managed to do, meaning that she too has qualified for the Semifinal on Friday. She climbed a fair bit higher then the remaining Semifinalists: Seuran Han (Kor), Olga Shalagina Ukr), Mina Markovic (Slo), Dinara Fakhritdinova (Rus), Marine Thévenet (Fra) and Tereza Svobodova (Cze).

We started off by talking about an illumination in Lead. This is by no means easy and calibre athletes failed such as Emily Harrigton, Anna Stohr (the new Boulder World Champions), Alizée Dufraisse and Alex Johnson… as did the Italians Sara Avoscan and Manuela Valsecchi. But we’re sure you’ve understood by now, this is what the “Difficulty” game is all about. A game which started perfectly today in the Climbing Stadium. A game in the sun and amongst the clouds. With the right rhythm which , hold after hold, top after top, leads with increasing intensity to the top. And to the explosive final.

report by Vinicio Stefanello / planetmountain.com

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- video

- results

- Final Lead women report
- Semifinal Lead women report