IFSC World Championships Moscow - Speed and Boulder Report

© IFSC/Jan Virt

Following the IFSC Paraclimbing World Championships last week (full report coming soon), the Speed and Boulder Championships crowned new World Champions this weekend in the same impressive arena where the European Championship Olympic qualification event was held last November. A number of Olympians understandably chose to sit out on yet another marathon event, but some rising stars and legends of the game shone in their absence. 

In Speed, 19-year old Natalia Kalucka (POL) knocked two Tokyo Speed climbers and World (and Olympic) Record-holders off the top step. Kalucka even raced against her twin sister, Aleksandra in the first round. In the final two races, Aleksandra Miroslaw (POL) fell and Iuliia Kaplina (CFR) slipped, giving Kalucka the win - who also set a new PB of 7.07 seconds - ahead of Kaplina and Miroslaw in 2nd and 3rd place respectively. Miroslaw set the fastest time of the competition in qualification, with a run of 6.99 seconds.

Women's Speed podium.  © IFSC/Dimitris Tosidis
Women's Speed podium.
© IFSC/Dimitris Tosidis

Men's Speed podium.  © IFSC/Dimitris Tosidis
Men's Speed podium.
© IFSC/Dimitris Tosidis

Danyil Boldyrev (UKR) won his second World title and was flanked by two newcomers to the IFSC World Cup podium: Erik Noya Cardona (ESP) and Noah Bratschi (USA). Marcin Dzienski (POL) set the fastest time of the competition with a time of 5.71 seconds in qualifiers, but finished in 10th place. 

In the absence of reigning Boulder World Champion and Olympic gold medallist Janja Garnbret, many fans looked to Natalia Grossman to fill her - now golden - shoes. That said, Grossman is capable of beating Garnbret, as she did in Salt Lake City, so it's unfair to lean too heavily on Garnbret's absence. Olympians Miho Nonaka (JPN) and Petra Klingler (2016 Boulder World Champion) were also missing from the line-up, as well as - of course - recently retired Akiyo Noguchi (JPN), who had travelled to Moscow nonetheless to support her teammates and take photographs at the event. 

Brooke Raboutou falls onto the last move.   © IFSC/Jan Virt
Brooke Raboutou falls onto the last move.
© IFSC/Jan Virt

Grossman and teammate Brooke Raboutou topped their respective qualification rounds and Grossman continued her effortless domination in the semis and finals by topping every boulder. In the final, despite the round being a high-top circuit, coming out last didn't seem to faze Grossman. She has a knack for knowing when to slow down on moves and when to ramp up her speed — in this age of dynamic movement, it's easy to assume that every move must be a sensational dyno. Equally, her compatriot Brooke Raboutou (USA) showed excellent trickery in finding a toe-hook to avoid a powerful triple dyno on W1.

Credit must be given to the route setting team, who created boulders with multiple methods almost across the board. The beta on display was stunning at times: Elena Krasovskaia (CFR) used an extremely high foot position far above her head to secure a top on W2, while Brooke Raboutou dramatically fell with both hands onto the finishing hold. On some boulders, there were four or more methods demonstrated by athletes on individual moves, showing the level of creativity that the setters put into these climbs, and that the athletes had to figure out for themselves. 

Natalia Grossman - a new women's World Champion.  © IFSC/Dimitris Tosidis
Natalia Grossman - a new women's World Champion.
© IFSC/Dimitris Tosidis

Camilla Moroni (ITA) - a regular semi-finalist and winner of the Tout à Blocs International Open - was in the form of her life in the final and entertained the crowd with her enthusiastic power screams and shouts of 'Si!' (Yes!') when she topped. She matched Grossman's score of 4 Tops and 4 Zones, but required more attempts. Staša Gejo (SRB) impressed with her signature gutsy style, earning 2 Tops and 4 Zones to take 3rd place. 'With me it's never a smooth and chill competition. It's always a crazy roller coaster. Everyone pulls their hair out. Well, I do too 😂' Gejo wrote on Instagram.

Considering that her focus has largely been on Tokyo this year and all three disciplines, Raboutou's 5th place deserves more praise than it might otherwise bring her. Grossman was speechless in her post-event interview, clearly overwhelmed by the year she's had: 9 international medals and possibly two World titles (more on this later). 

GB Climbing's Holly Toothill finished just outside of semis in 21st -  a strong result in her first senior World Championships. 

Women's Boulder podium.  © IFSC/Jan Virt
Women's Boulder podium.
© IFSC/Jan Virt

In the men's, some big names such as Adam Ondra (CZE) and Nathaniel Coleman (USA) opted not to compete. GB Climbing's Billy Ridal and Nathan Phillips qualified for semis and finished 14th and 17th respectively. Hamish McArthur - our freshly crowned double World Youth Champion - narrowly missed out on finals in 7th place in his first ever senior Boulder event. Today, Hamish qualified in 2nd place in Lead ahead of Jakob Schubert – be sure to keep an eye on what this 19-year-old from Yorkshire might do next this week and in the future...

Tomoa Narasaki finished 2nd.   © Jan Virt/IFSC
Tomoa Narasaki finished 2nd.
© Jan Virt/IFSC

Tomoa Narasaki (JPN) was looking for vengeance after a 'disappointing' (his own descriptor) Tokyo Olympics, where he finished 4th. His teammate Kokoro Fujii (JPN) led the qualifier round in Moscow alongside Yannick Flohé (GER), while Narasaki topped the semi-final round.

Once again, the route setters put on a fantastic show in the final with a range of styles and possible sequences. A flash Top of M1 immediately put Fujii head and shoulders above the rest of the athletes, none of whom managed to reach even a Zone. Manu Cornu (FRA) flashed M2 and put some pressure on the Japanese, who both topped in two attempts. Another flash by Fujii on M3 made him odds-on favourite for the win, as he would only need to reach the Zone on M4 to win. Narasaki topped in three attempts and looked set for a medal. M4 was a fierce compression boulder with a blocked Zone and a heartbreaker finish. Four climbers topped, but only Narasaki and Manu Cornu could flash it, knocking crowd favourite Alexey Rubtsov off the podium. 

Kokoro Fujii (JPN) takes the win.  © IFSC/Dimitris Tosidis
Kokoro Fujii (JPN) takes the win.
© IFSC/Dimitris Tosidis

Fujii smoothly topped on his second attempt to secure a well-deserved and convincing win. Fujii became a father last year — is he the first Dad to become an IFSC World Champion? Equally impressive were Narasaki and Rubtsov's performances, given that they had had to focus on three disciplines in the run-up to the Olympics, while most of the field was able to concentrate on Boulder alone. 

Men's podium Boulder.  © Jan Virt/IFSC
Men's podium Boulder.
© Jan Virt/IFSC

Unfortunately, a brilliant weekend was let down somewhat by a reappearance of the same inappropriate shot in the livestream featuring the same female athlete, which occurred previously in Innsbruck this summer. The IFSC removed and reuploaded an edited livestream replay. A statement read: "The IFSC condemns the objectification of the human body and will take further action in order for it to stop, and to protect the athletes.

IFSC President Marco Scolaris added: "How many times will things have to be done wrong, before we learn how to do them right?"

The situation was handled with great professionalism in real-time by IFSC commentator Matt Groom and was later condemned by co-commentator Hannah Meul (GER) at the end of the stream. For athletes, self-confidence is a huge factor in competition. If they feel that their bodies are being inappropriately presented on-screen, it could unfairly affect their performance as well as their mental health. Here's hoping the IFSC can put in place a set of guidelines and a photography and filming policy in line with those for other sports. 

Back to Grossman's potential double World title, the IFSC announced that the Seoul Speed and Boulder World Cup rounds have been cancelled, bringing the season to a premature end. There has been no mention yet of the consequences to the overall competition and whether the number of rounds is sufficient to result in an overall ranking, but this could mean that Grossman will take the overall IFSC Boulder World Cup win, with Garnbret in 2nd and Oriane Bertone (FRA) in 3rd. For men's Boulder, the overall winners could be Yoshiyuki Ogata (JPN) in first, followed by Kokoro Fujii (JPN) and Adam Ondra (CZE). In Speed, Veddriq Leonardo (INA) and Emma Hunt (USA) would win the overall, followed by Kiromal Katibin (INA) and Marcin Dzienski (POL), and Patrycja Chudziak (POL) and Aleksandra Miroslaw (POL).

The Moscow event isn't over just yet, though - Lead qualification is currently underway. Stay tuned for a Lead report later this week...

Speed Men

1 Danyil Boldyrev UKR5.73
2 Erik Noya Cardona ESP5.95
3 Noah Bratschi USA6.31
4 Guillaume Moro FRA8.46
5 Tobias Plangger AUT5.98
6 John Brosler USAFALL
7 Rishat Khaibullin KAZFALL
8 Vladislav Deulin RUSFALL
9 Reza Alipourshena. IRI5.75
10 Marcin Dzienski POL5.83
11 Gian Luca Zodda ITA5.849
12 Amir Maimuratov KAZ5.91
13 Arsenii Bogomolov RUS6.07
14 Pierre Rebreyend FRA6.17
15 Dmitrii Timofeev RUSFALL
16 Aleksandr Shikov RUSFALL
17 Kostiantyn Pavlenko UKRQual: 5.96
18 Ludovico Fossali ITAQual: 5.98
19 Carlos Granja ECUQual: 5.99
20 Milad Alipour Shenazandifar IRIQual: 6.04

Speed Women

1 Natalia Kalucka POL7.18
2 Iuliia Kaplina RUS8.94
3 Aleksandra Mirosław POL7.00
4 Ekaterina Barashchuk RUS8.47
5 Elizaveta Ivanova RUS7.30
6 Capucine Viglione FRA7.55
7 Emma Hunt USA9.41
8 Anna Brozek POLFALL
9 Patrycja Chudziak POL7.72
10 Aleksandra Kalucka POL7.87
11 Franziska Ritter GER8.06
12 Beatrice Colli ITA8.13
13 Andrea Rojas ECU8.16
14 Mariia Krasavina RUS8.17
15 Laura Stöckler AUT12.37
16 Yelyzaveta Lavrykova UKRFALL
17 Alexandra Elmer AUTQual: 8.33
18 Tamara Kuznetsova KAZQual: 8.41
19 Polina Kulagina RUSQual: 8.58
20 Tetiana Kolkotina UKRQual: 8.59

Boulder Men

1 Kokoro Fujii JPN2T4z 3 124T4z 6 6
2 Tomoa Narasaki JPN3T3z 7 53T3z 6 6
3 Manuel Cornu FRA3T3z 8 52T3z 2 3
4 Aleksei Rubtsov RUS2T3z 9 62T3z 7 5
5 Nimrod Marcus ISR2T3z 3 50T2z 0 9
6 Anze Peharc SLO2T3z 7 70T2z 0 10
7 Hamish McArthur GBR2T3z 12 11
8 Yoshiyuki Ogata JPN1T4z 1 14
9 Zan Sudar SLO1T4z 2 14
10 Tomoaki Takata JPN1T4z 4 14
11 Mickael Mawem FRA1T3z 2 6
12 Minyoung Lee KOR1T3z 4 9
13 Mejdi Schalck FRA1T3z 4 14
14 Billy Ridal GBR1T2z 4 5
15 Yannick Flohé GER0T4z 0 14
16 Gregor Vezonik SLO0T3z 0 4
17 Mathieu Ternant FRA0T3z 0 8
18 Michael Piccolruaz ITA0T2z 0 3
18 Nathan Phillips GBR0T2z 0 3
18 Sascha Lehmann SUI0T2z 0 3

Boulder Women

1 Natalia Grossman USA4T4z 8 84T4z 7 7
2 Camilla Moroni ITA4T4z 15 134T4z 13 11
3 Stasa Gejo SRB2T4z 4 92T4z 5 7
4 Elena Krasovskaia RUS3T4z 8 92T3z 2 4
5 Brooke Raboutou USA3T3z 11 112T3z 3 4
6 Andrea Kümin SUI3T3z 11 91T3z 3 3
7 Fanny Gibert FRA2T4z 7 16
8 Chloe Caulier BEL2T3z 6 13
9 Viktoriia Meshkova RUS2T3z 6 14
10 Lucka Rakovec SLO2T2z 5 5
11 Ayala Kerem ISR2T2z 7 6
12 Sofya Yokoyama SUI1T3z 2 11
13 Futaba Ito JPN1T2z 1 6
14 Mao Nakamura JPN1T2z 1 15
15 Vita Lukan SLO1T2z 3 8
16 Natsuki Tanii JPN1T1z 1 1
17 Kylie Cullen USA0T3z 0 10
18 Elnaz Rekabi IRI0T2z 0 5
19 Johanna Färber AUT0T2z 0 8
20 Franziska Sterrer AUT0T2z 0 13

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20 Sep

The women’s final had to be some of the best setting I’ve seen. As it says in the article it gave us so many different solutions, showcase lots of different crazy skills. Such an exciting round!

21 Sep

Could not find a link to a replay of the boulder finals (never bother usually, but these comments about the quality of the setting, with climbers using various sequences, have teased me for once !)

21 Sep

Easy to find on BBC i player

21 Sep

Ah ? Is this British ? Will it work on this side of the pond now that Britain has gone adrift ? (Will try anyway)

21 Sep
aha guess what ?
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