World Championships Gijón - Full Report

On the second weekend of September the 2014 World Championship event in Lead, Speed and Paraclimbing took place in Gijón in north-west Spain. This much-anticipated competition – occurring once every two years independent of the World Cup series – followed on from the Boulder World Championships in Munich last month. Over 200 competitors took part across the three disciplines.

In the Lead event, Czech climber Adam Ondra made history after taking the men’s title and becoming the first ever competitor to win both Boulder and Lead World Championship titles in the same year.

Adam Ondra climbing in the finals of the World Championships in Gijón, 44 kb
Adam Ondra climbing in the finals of the World Championships in Gijón
© Shinta Ozawa

Battling it out for the win in the final with Ramon Julian Puigblanque right up until the last moves, Ondra saw off high-calibre competitors such as Japan’s Sachi Amma, reigning 2012 World Champion Jakob Schubert of Austria and Canada’s Sean McColl. After Ondra’s disappointing disqualification from the Chamonix round of the Lead World Cup in July due to accidentally missing a clip, his competition season appears to be back on track with this recent run of form. Currently coached by former World Champion and multiple World Cup winner Patxi Usobiaga of Spain, Adam’s achievement is one which rivals that of France’s Sandrine Levet – winning a Lead and Boulder World Cup round in the same weekend in Edinburgh in 2003. Adam commented on his performance on the livestream as follows:

I don’t have the words. I think I still need a couple of days to actually realise what I’ve just managed!

In the women’s event, Jain Kim of Korea stunned the audience with a composed top-out of the final route to deservedly earn her very first World Championship title, the scale of such an achievement resulting in her lowering to the floor in tears of emotion. Despite the absence of 2013 European Lead Champion Dinara Fakhritdinova of Russia due to missing the close of isolation in the semi-final round, the final line-up included a mix of seasoned senior competitors and some fresh talent from the youth circuit. Slovenia’s Mina Markovic matched the performance of Magdalena Röck of Austria on the final route, only taking Silver on countback to the semi-final round. With Jain Kim currently leading the Lead World Cup ranking with four rounds to go, she appears to be a strong contender to take the double World Championship and World Cup title in the same year – an unprecedented achievement. Having won three Silver medals in the last three World Championships, Kim finally achieved her goal, remarking on the live-stream:

 “I am so happy…the last three times I got three silver medals and this time I really wanted to win. I can’t believe it. It’s a dream come true!”

Jain Kim, Mina Markovic and Magdalena Röck - winners of the Female Difficulty event, 78 kb
Jain Kim, Mina Markovic and Magdalena Röck - winners of the Female Difficulty event
© Shinta Ozawa

Charlotte Durif competing at the 2014 World Cup round in Briançon in July, 76 kb
Charlotte Durif competing at the 2014 World Cup round in Briançon in July
© Chris Prescott/Minerva Design


  1. Adam Ondra CZE 45+
  2. Ramón Julian Puigblanque ESP 45

  3. Sachi Amma JPN 42+


  1. Jain Kim KOR Top
  2. Mina Markovic SLO 47+
  3. Magdalena Röck AUT 47+

In the Speed event, Alina Gaidamakina and Danylo Boldyrev took Gold with Boldyrev setting a new 15 metre world record in the final round at 5.60 seconds.

In the Paraclimbing competition – split into World Championship and World Master events dependent on the number of athletes in each category - the GB Team had a very successful weekend. Fran Brown won Gold in the Masters event in Neurological Physical Disability Category B, adding to her World Championship title which she achieved in Paris in 2012. Esme Harte won Bronze in the Championship Women Amputee Leg event and Sianagh Gallagher took Bronze in the Masters Women Amputee Arm category. Also in the Masters event, 18 year-old Reanne Racktoo won Silver in the Women Visual Impairment category, Nick Middleton won Silver in the Men Amputee Arm category and John Churcher took Bronze in the Men Visual Impairment B2 event.

Having crowned the 2014 World Champions in Boulder (Munich), Lead and Speed disciplines, only the much sought-after title of Overall World Champion remained to be announced. This combined podium is a celebration of all-rounded ability, honouring the athletes with the best performances across all three disciplines. Charlotte Durif - a veteran of the competition scene despite being only 24 years old – took the overall women’s title for the first time. Although primarily a Lead specialist, Charlotte has recently branched out into the Boulder and Speed Disciplines. Following the competition we got in touch with Charlotte to ask her some questions.

NB:  How do you feel after winning the Overall title for the first time?

CD: Obviously I am very happy to have succeeded in this challenge I started just a few months ago! I impressed myself and others with my performance in Speed. I really worked hard for it - people who follow competitions know that I climb VERY slow.

NB: How did you find a balance between the three disciplines in training?

CD: I really "played the game" of overall by training for all disciplines because I knew I wouldn't be a leader in the two other disciplines (Lead and Boulder). I worked very hard with the French Speed Team coach, and I am very satisfied with the progress I made. Even if I had to sacrifice my lead preparation slightly, I had a lot of fun training speed and boulder in a more in-depth manner!

NB: Do you think more competitors are becoming more interested in aiming for the Overall title?

CD: Seeing the results, training in all the disciplines is something that is getting more and more important, and I think that it really shows the value of a competition for an overall winner. I really hope more people will aim at doing the overall championship, making the challenge even more interesting for the climbers!

Charlotte Durif with French teammate Alban Levier who took Bronze in the Men's Overall competition, 91 kb
Charlotte Durif with French teammate Alban Levier who took Bronze in the Men's Overall competition

Canada’s Sean McColl took the men’s Overall title for 2014, a repeat of his performance in Paris two years ago where he also performed well across the board to become the combined champion.

Next stop on the international competition circuit is the World Youth Championships in Nouméa, New Caledonia next week (20th – 24th September).

Full results from Gijón here.

You can watch a replay of the Finals here:


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