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Semifinal Lead women report

Jain Kim © Anna Piunova

Jain Kim © Anna Piunova

When the going gets tough the tough get going. This is exactly what Mina Markovic did today in this very difficult Female Lead Semifinal at the Arco World Championship. The Slovenian athlete, who was 18th after the qualifiers, raced up determinedly to re-conquer the spot she deserved. She stated her difficult aim: to be one of the 8 finalists. She achieved this in great style finishing 6th; a great undertaking since she recovered 12 positions, a goal which seemed impossible at the outset. The talented neo Boulder vice-champion Sasha DiGiulian found things just as difficult and just managed to snatch the last available spot for the final. The Austrian team broke all records by presenting an armoured troop of athletes in the Semis and 5 of them reached the final: Magdalena Röck, Johanna Ernst, Angela Eiter, Katharina Posch and Christine Schranz. The Korean athlete Jain Kim made a record-breaking climb and she was the only athlete to get within a hair’s breadth from the top, but she failed to stick the final hold. Hers was an amazing performance. Could this be a preview of things to come?

But let’s talk about this Semifinal which turned out to an agonising and difficult competition. We mentioned Mina Markovic and how she immediately took the lead. How she climbed up high, almost beyond the Climbing Stadium’s legendary, wave shaped roof, which proved to be like the Bermuda triangle for the athletes…  The roof overwhelmed many. Others (in truth not that many) failed to even reach it. Jenny Lavarda was one who reached the roof and tackled it with determination, but she the way through the evil clockwise turn needed to exit.  What a pity, the best Italian climber was extremely determined this time round… Hers was a great comp but unfortunately it only reaped her 14th overall.

By now it had become clear that the only way to qualify for the final was by breaching the roof. The top seemed beyond reach seeing that the overhanging wave  kept making illustrious victims; from the Slovenian Natalija Gros to her team mate Maya Vidmar (11th overall). More or less the same thing happened to the Russian Yana Chereshneva (10th)  and the French climbers Charlotte Durif (15th) and Caroline Ciavaldini (16th).

The only athletes to get close to Mina Markovic were, Sasha DiGiulian followed by 22-year-old Christine Schranz. Then came the turning point, when Katharina Posch became the first to overtake Markovic. The talented 17-year-old Magdalena Röck then pulled away, becoming the first to explore the large slab above the roof and to climb extremely high: her effort netted her the second place in the Semis. The current World Champion Johanna Ernst stopped just short of her young teammate and placed provisional 3rd.

It was then the turn of yet another Austrian, of another super champion: Angela Eiter. She fought like a lion, and clinched a place in the final thanks to her great experience and class, finishing provisional 4th, just below Ernst. The only one left to climb was Jain Kim… and up to that moment the top seemed impossible and elusive. But not for the Korean. She seemed to fly. She seemed weightless. She climbed past everyone’s highpoint and continued straight to the top without hesitation. One last lunge… and she touched the top hold. She only just missed out on sending the route, but gave an impressive demonstration of her power nevertheless! Her climb is an important visiting card for tonight’s final. One thing is certain:  Magdalena Röck, Johanna Ernst, Angela Eiter and the other finalists will not spare themselves…

report by Vinicio Stefanello / planetmountain.com

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- Final Lead women report
- Qualification Lead women report