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RockMaster pre-event IFSC World Championship

The classic Rock Master competition which traditionally takes place in September has been brought forward to 16 – 18 July 2010 as a pre-event to the IFSC World Championship, sceduled for July 2011 in  Arco.

The 2010 Rock Master promises to be something quite special, a long, highly intense weekend of competitions. Despite abandoning the classic formula which the Rock Master has used for the last 20 years, the weekend will be an exciting and intense prologue to what lies in store in 2011.

The competiton will not be by invition only, but Open which means all national teams can send their best athletes in preparation for the great challenge in a year’s time.
Here are the various competition formula.

LEAD
This is the most classic sport climbing discipline. The one which represents the essence of this sport, for both climbers and non-climbers alike. Athletes climb an extremely difficult route and attempt to reach the summit, the top as it is called in climbing terms. Only the strongest manage to clinch the final hold, while all the others fall along the route, held safely by the rope.
The climber’s performance equates to the highest point reached. In the Semifinal and Final athletes climb a route they have never seen before and this is why they are held in an isolation area prior to their turn.
The route must be climbed within a certain time limit, 6 minutes in the Qualifications and 8 minutes in the Semifinal and Final.
26 athletes qualify for the Semifinal, 8 proceed to the Final.
If athletes are joint-equal they challenge each other in a Superfinal.

BOULDER
The bouldering competition is about climbing without ropes on short walls (also called boulder problems), max 4.5 m high. Falls are stopped by specifically engineered mattresses. This discipline is particularly fascinating thanks to the intense difficulties concentrated into a couple of meters, the short competition time and the close proximity to the spectators.
What counts is reaching the final hold (the top in climbing terms), while the result is determined by the overall number of boulders sent and the number of attempts needed. If athletes do not reach the finishing hold they may be awarded a bonus point for having reached a particularly demanding zone. 20 athletes qualify for the Semifinal, while only 6 proceed to the Final.

SPEED
Speed is the only factor that counts in the Speed Climbing event. Those who climb the slightly overhanging IFSC certified vertical piste the fastest become World Champions.
Since 2007 the IFSC has created a standard route for the world record, held by two Chinese climbers: He Cuillan holds the current women’s record of 9:04 seconds while Qixin Zhonh stopped the men’s clock at 6:64 seconds.
The athletes race against the clock in the qualifications to proceed to the Final. In the rounds that follow they compete in a sort of head-to-head on two identical, parallel routes which result in direct elimination.

TEAM SPEED
The new Team Speed discipline will be introduced as a medal showcase for the 2011 World Championship.
This is relay competion comprised of three team members. The absolute novelty is that the teams must be mixed sexes, men and women.
The race will be held on the world record piste split into four lanes, two for each team.
The first athlete races to hit the button at the top of the wall, at which point the second athlete climbs the second leg to release the third and final athlete whose final button marks the total time.
The rhythem, the fact that the game changes continously with unthinkable comebacks and the team effort ensure that the Team Speed is one of the most spectacular and exciting sport climbing events.

DUEL
Although not yet an official medal competition, the Duel has animated the Rock Master finals for years and is certainly one of the most exciting events as it combined the spectacular nature of Lead competitions with the immediacy and rhythm of Speed events. The competition is an irresistible crowd pleaser as spectators cheer the two climbers upwards.
The athletes compete on two identical, parallel routes with difficulties above 8a. The rule is primeval: reach the top as quickly as possible. Tactics, nerves of steel, determination, control, explosiveness and the desire to race to the bitter end are the vital ingredients for victory.
The Duel will be the final competition both at the Rock Master pre-event and the IFSC World Championship: a sort of olympic grand gala, where only the best Lead athletes will take part: 8 at the pre-championship event and 16 at the World Championship.