Despite the ongoing IFSC and Flosports livestreaming debacle, the 2017 IFSC Boulder World Cup kicked off in Meiringen, Switzerland and was free to watch live on Youtube as a compromise whilst discussions continue. Great Britain's Shauna Coxsey bounced back to form following her recovery from shoulder surgery at the end of last season, taking the win with a very convincing lead ahead of her competitors. The Japanese team continued their meteoric rise ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, with one third of the finalists representing Japan and Kokoro Fujii taking Gold.
Having topped the qualification rankings and placed third in the semi-finals, Shauna looked composed throughout the competition, but truly came into her own in the final - topping all four problems. Austria's Katharina Sauerwein placed 2nd, topping two out of the four boulders. Notable absences from the final were Japan's Akiyo Noguchi - who narrowly missed out on semi-finals in 21st place - and multi-World Cup winner Anna Stohr who finished 43rd.
Commenting on Facebook, Shauna was elated with her win:
In the Men's event, the difficulty of the final problems resulted in few tops. Kokoro Fujii's quick flash of problem three secured him the win ahead of Russia's Alexei Rubtsov and his Japanese teammate Keita Watabe. Half of the men's final field were Japanese, with a staggering nine Japanese competitors in total making the top 30 rankings.
The next round will take place in Chongqing, China on 22nd-23rd April followed by Nanjing the next weekend.
Regarding the livestreaming debate, it is not yet clear if and how the deal will be renegociated or how the following rounds will be broadcast, although it appears that a subscription will still be necessary for livestreams and replays whatever happens. Creator of the petition against the deal with Flosports, Peter Crane has found the IFSC to be evasive in their responses and has updated the petition - which now stands at over 12,000 signatories - with the following blog post. Read his opinion piece for UKC. Competitors staged a protest during the opening ceremony at Meiringen, where they held up red cards to garner the attention of the IFSC.
Watch the full finals replay below: