PHOTOS: World Cup - Sheffield - Full Reportby Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC Jul/2010
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The British Bouldering Team climbed phenomenally well in the qualifying round on Saturday, with man of the moment Stew Watson and team mate Gaz Parry both qualifying in joint first place. Also making it through to the semi finals were Ned Feehally, Mina Leslie-Wujastyk, Shauna Coxsey, Leah Crane and Diane Merrick.
The semi final problems were tough, with only Adam Ondra and Guillaume Glairon Mondet managing to top three of the four problems in the men's. The women faired slightly better, with Natalija Gros, Akiyo Noguci, Alex Johnson and Chloe Graftiaux all completing every problem in the semi finals.
None of the Brits made it through to the finals, but the atmosphere was still electric and a huge crowd gathered to see the final twelve athletes try their luck.
The final round was a close run competition, with both Adam Ondra (CZE) and Cedric Lachat (SUI) topping out all the problems in the men's comp and Chloe Graftiaux, Alex Johnson and Akiyo Noguci topping out all the problems in the women's.
It came down to how many attempts it had taken the climbers to succeed, and Ondra was well ahead of the pack - showing just why he is considered to be the best climber in the world. In the women's only one try separated winner Chloe Graftiaux and runner up Alex Johnson though, a real nail-biting finish.
The petite Slovenian Natalja Gros, although looking very strong in the semi finals, seemed to be stretched out to her limit on some of the final problems, in contrast to the tall frame of Alex Johnson from the USA. It was a real magnifying glass on how different body shapes and sizes can force different sequences and moves.
The Cliff Hanger event itself was the busiest it has ever been, with over twenty thousand people through the gates. event organiser Matt Heason said:
"What a weekend! The weather held out, numbers were up on last year which is great as we held a world cup round for the first time, and the Adam Ondra phenomenon came to town. Full marks to the route setting team who, year after year, deliver a nail biting comp. Also a great big thumbs up to the guys at Alpkit for the amazing Shake Out."
Extra thanks go to Keith Sharples for letting UKC use some of his excellent photographs of the competition.