The 2019 European Lead and Speed Climbing Championships took place at Edinburgh International Climbing Arena in Ratho last weekend. GB Climbing Team members put on some strong performances in front of a home crowd, with five athletes making Lead semi-finals and Jim Pope making his first ever senior IFSC final and finishing 6th. Jen Wood won bronze in the European Combined Championships rankings due to her Boulder result in Zakopane and her Lead and Speed rankings in Edinburgh. The events were livestreamed on Eurosport and BMC TV
In the semi-final round, Will Bosi narrowly missed out on finals in 9th place, Molly Thompson-Smith finished 12th, Hamish McArthur 15th and Dave Barrans 18th.
Although the field was diminished slightly as a result of a very busy 2019 competition circuit ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, some big names and World Cup winners including Adam Ondra (CZE), Jakob Schubert (AUT), Jessy Pilz (AUT) and Anak Verhoeven (BEL) were vying for the title of European Champion.
The final routes featured mirrored jumps about one-third of the way up the wall, which made for an exciting albeit nerve-wracking round for spectators and finalists alike. Jim Pope climbed confidently through a powerful compression section low down on the route, before setting himself up for the dyno. A foot slip while getting into position to launch sideways ended Jim's climb, but ultimately placed him ahead of future Olympian Jakob Schubert (AUT) and Luca Potokar (SLO). Young Spanish rising star Alberto Gínes López caught the dyno and continued through the steep section to fall just below the roof - not without his trademark bent-arm battle before falling. Villars World Cup winner Sascha Lehmann (SUI) also landed the jump - despite his small stature - and fell just below Alberto's highpoint. Only one climber remained: Adam Ondra (CZE).
Having signed autographs on chalkbags and t-shirts for most of the weekend, there were concerns that the pressure might get to Adam in the final, but true to form and while still seemingly on a high after winning the IFSC World Cup in Kranj the previous weekend he didn't fail to impress. With the jump in the bag, Adam stormed through the headwall to reach the roof and take the lead with a few moves to spare. No top for Adam, but a second gold medal in the space of a week ahead of the Olympic Selection Event in Toulouse – with a Speed World Cup in China to secure a place beforehand – certainly seemed to put him in a good mood after failing to earn an Olympic spot in Hachioji this summer. Alberto and Sascha placed 2nd and 3rd respectively.
In the women's event, up-and-coming 15-year-old French climber Luce Douady stunned the crowd with an early and very high highpoint of 43, falling on the lip of the roof just a few moves short of the top. Was the level too easy? Future Olympian Jessy Pilz (AUT) looked set to surpass Luce's score, but fell one move below in a tricky inverted sequence. An awkward mantel just before the dyno ate away at the climbing time for most of the women, but all athletes made it through the move. Lucka Rakovec (SLO), who placed 3rd in Kranj the previous weekend, maintained her form and fell on the last move to take a provisional lead. 19-year-old double Youth World Champion Laura Rogora (ITA) skilfully negotiated the reachy mantel and the dyno to reach just below Lucka's score.
Making a return to the IFSC circuit was Anak Verhoeven (BEL), one of the most consistent finalists and podiumists until a chronic elbow injury caused her to take time off to recover last season. After a 4th place in Kranj and having qualified in 1st place for the finals of this competition, spectators' expectations of Anak were high. A few hesitant attempts at the dyno cost Anak some time and energy, which ultimately led to her missing the hold to place 8th. Lucka Rakovec (SLO) was crowned European Champion after maintaining her impressive lead over the women who had qualified ahead of her, with Laura and Luce completing the podium. Ths was Laura's first senior IFSC medal, and Luce's second after her win at the European Cup (Boulder) in Innsbruck this year.
In the Speed event, Tokyo ticket-holder Aleksandra Miroslaw (POL) added a European Championship title to her World Champion and overall World Cup titles for the first time ahead of Mariia Krasavina (RUS) and Anouck Jaubert (FRA), while Vladislav Deulin (RUS) took gold ahead of Danyil Boldyrev (UKR) and Dmitrii Timofeev (RUS).
On her 3rd place in the Combined rankings, Jen Wood told UKC:
'I always love competing in Ratho in front of a home crowd. I had a good start with a PB in speed, it wasn't the speediest but after sub-optimal prep I was pretty psyched to be able to pull out a decent run. With lead I wasn't quite where I wanted to be with my fitness, as it feels like the boulder season has only just finished! I was psyched to put in a good fight on the first route, but unfortunately fumbled a move low on the second which cost me a spot in semis. I went to the comp with very process-orientated goals as I had little expectation of results. It was such a nice surprise to find out that my results, when combined with my rank in Poland, were enough for a bronze medal in combined.'
The European Boulder Championships in Zakopane, Poland last month was also a successful event for the GB Team, with Billy Ridal making his first senior international final and finishing 4th and three other Brits making semi-finals: Nathan Phillips (10th), Natalie Berry (11th) and Tara Hayes (12th). Urška Repusič (SLO) won the women's event and Mickaël Mawem (FRA) was crowned men's champion.
European Championship (L,S) - Edinburgh (GBR) 2019
|2||Alberto Ginés López||ESP||38+||35+|
|14||Davide Marco Colombo||ITA||27|
|37||Kieran Forrest||GBR||Qual' 20 35.|
|6||Tina Johnsen Hafsaas||NOR||39||40+|
|18||Lynn van der Meer||NED||35+|
|28||Jennifer Wood||GBR||Qual' 12+ 32.|
|32||Joanna Neame||GBR||Qual' 21 25.|
|19||Gian Luca Zodda||ITA|
|8||Iuliia Kaplina||RUS||false sta||8.284|