Another Gold for China and Indonesia
The speed climbers were fortunate to have a cool night for the penultimate speed finals of the season, which were held at the Place du Mont Blanc in Chamonix, France with light rain only appearing at the very end of the event.
SONG Pulls Ahead
The Speed Finals in Villars left China’s YiLing SONG and France’s Anouck JAUBERT tied for the season’s speed title, however, JAUBERT dropped out of the competition in the first round after losing her race to Aries SUSANTI RAHAYU (INA). Despite the low friction conditions on the wall, SONG continued to blaze through her races with times under 7.3 seconds, just skirting her recent world record time.
The women’s small final saw a simultaneous fall from Aleksandra KALUCKA (POL) and SUSTANTI RAHAYU right off the start. After a few moments, the race was held again, with KALUCKA earning bronze after another fall from her opponent. SONG faced Elizaveta IVANOVA (RUS) in the big final, claiming her third gold of the season by default after a false start from IVANOVA. This is IVANOVA’s second podium of the season, she finished third in Villars after missing out on the big final due to another false start.
A Second Gold for MUHAMMAD
In a shocking turn of events, top men’s competitors Dmitrii TIMOFEEV (RUS) and Bassa MAWEM (FRA) were knocked out of the running early on in the competition; TIMOFEEV losing to Alfian MUHAMMAD (INA) and MAWEM in a false start in his race against Vladislav DEULIN (RUS)
DEULIN ultimately seized his bronze medal after Danyil BOLDYREV (UKR) fell halfway up the climb. The big final for the men was a tight race between QiXin ZHONG (CHN) and MUHAMMED. Both climbers were nearly in sync, but it was MUHAMMED who pulled ahead and hit the pad first, earning his second gold medal of the season after Chongqing.
A New Women's Gold; ONDRA Back on Top
As the sun set on the legendary mountain town of Chamonix, the competitors took on the lead wall in front of a sea of people at one of the most popular events in the world cup circuit. The final saw no tops and many ties for the women, but the men’s final was considerably more decisive.
Korea Takes Gold
In a surprising turn of events, the crowd favorite, Janja GARNBRET (SLO) was knocked out of the competition after placing ninth in the semi-finals, one move shy of advancing. This is the first time in GARNBRET’s career that she has not made a lead final. This left the first-place position on the podium wide open for the other climbers for the first time since the start of the bouldering season.
The women’s final featured 42 moves to the top, but with the crux of the route situated just above the headwall after a long climb, none of the athletes made it to the top. With another series of ties, the results referred back to the semi-final placing. It was the Villars second-place finisher, Chaehyun SEO (KOR), who took home the gold, her first in her climbing career.
Team USA finally had a representative in a final this season, with Ashima SHIRAISHI earning fifth. Jessica PILZ (AUT) was originally awarded a higher result for her attempt but was later marked down and ended the event with bronze, giving YueTang ZHANG (CHN) the silver.
A Legendary Podium
After a challenging semi-final round for the men, several of the top men’s athletes passed through to the finals. Alexander MEGOS (GER) who had initially held seventh place at the end of the semi-finals was moved down to eighth for using a bolt. With that result, MEGOS is the first out during the finals and made an impressive attempt at the top, holding on to first place for the entire round until Adam ONDRA (CZE) out climbed him at the end to seize his first lead gold of the season.
Austrian Jakob SCHUBERT, the reigning Lead Season Champion of 2018 fell just short of MEGOS’s highpoint and claimed the bronze medal in Chamonix. Great Britain had a men’s finalist for the first time this season and William BOSI did not fail to put on a good show, finishing his finals run in fourth.