Qualification Lead men report
It was clear from yesterday’s Female Lead qualifiers that the men’s first round would not be at all easy, not even for them. This is what the Arco World Championship is all about, the selection is very difficult indeed. And beautiful, just like today’s weather: a sunny day, with a slight breeze, while the clouds chased each other high above the Climbing Stadium and the athletes raced up the 4 comp routes. There were two routes each for the two groups. One longer and more difficult line, while the other was slightly (but only just) easier. So: two tops and a faultless ascent to the top of both routes lead straight to the Semifinal; but only a few succeeded. All the usual athletes, or almost, since today held a few small surprises in store.
But let’s start off with those who couldn’t have done a better job today. At the top of the provisional ranking is Ramón Julian Puigblanque, the Catalan – it’s no secret – is one of the best bets to win the World Lead title (which, for the record, he had already won in Avilés in 2007). He leads the provisional ranking – and therefore automatically qualifies to the Semifinal with full marks – along with the very talented Japanese climber Sachi Amma, Magnus Midtboe from Norway, Cédric Lachat from Switzerland, the Austrian Jakob Schubert (who’s been under special observation since his great World Cup victory in Chamonix) and his team mate Mario Lechner. It will be well worth keeping an eye on these two twenty-year-olds.
The big surprise was Adam Ondra who failed to achieve a double top. Along with Puigblanque he is the number one favourite for the final victory and in truth nobody doubted that he would qualify for the Semifinal since the Czech was the only athlete who almost topped out on the first route before falling from extremely high. We don’t think this little mishap will cause him any unnecessary psychological stress. On the contrary, knowing him, this will probably motivate him to do even better in the Semis.
One top and an extremely high second climb enabled the following athletes to qualify for the Semifinal: Vleeriy Kryukov (UKR), Hyunbin Min (KOR), Jorg Verhoeven (NED) and Evgeny Zazulin (RUS). The list of Group A Semifinalists is completed by: Mikhail Chernikov (RUS), Gauthier Supper (FRA), Sangwon Son (KOR), Thomas Ballet (FRA), Evgeny Ovchinnikov (RUS), Domen Skofic (SLO), Sean Mccoll (CAN). While Group B is completed by: Romain Manuel (FRA), Thomas Tauporn (GER), Eduard Marin Garcia (ESP), Davoud Rekabi (IRI), Matej Sova (SLO), Anton Mardashov (UKR) and, just before him, local Martino Ischia. Born and bred on the crags here in Arco, today he represented Italy and is the only athlete to qualify for the Semis. What a special moment!
report by Vinicio Stefanello / planetmountain.com