The final round of the 2023 IFSC Lead and Speed World Cup circuit took place in Wujiang, China last week, where athletes battled for Olympic Qualifier Series (OQS) points and overall titles. Japanese stars Ai Mori and Sorato Anraku secured a double win in Lead, with Anraku becoming the first man to won overall titles in both Lead and Boulder in the same year — in his debut senior season.
Attendance was relatively low, as most of the big names and people with sufficient ranking points for the OQS next year had chosen to sit this round out after a busy season.
Japan and China dominated this Asian round, with 6/12 and 4/12 medals respectively. China earned four Speed medals and Japan almost swept the Lead podium clean, with 5 medals in the one discipline.
LiJuan Deng took gold in front of a home crowd in China, beating Poland's Natalia Kalucka in the final race giving Kalucka silver (Deng 6.58 – 6.69 N. Kalucka). Di Niu (CHN) took bronze. Niu beat Aleksandra Kalucka (POL) in the small final to take third (Nui 6.89 – 7.85 A Kalucka).
Paris 2024 ticketholder and world record holder Aleksandra Miroslaw (POL) fell in the quarterfinal round.
Natalia Kalucka (POL) won the series with 3700 points, Aleksandra Miroslaw (POL) placed second with 3545 points. She won three events but only competed in four of the six events. Lijuan Deng (CHN) finished third with 3535 points with her win in Wujiang as her best-scoring result.
Peng Wu made it a Chinese double gold, taking his first ever IFSC World Cup win in the men's competition. He won a close final race against teammate Jingjie Huang who took silver (Peng 5.05 – 5.10 Huang). Ryo Omasa (JPN) completed the podium with his second bronze of the season. Omasa beat South Korea's Euncheol Shin in the small final (Omasa 5.11 – 5.16 Shin). Both Omasa and Shin posted personal best times in the finals.
Leonardo Veddriq (INA) won the record-equalling third series title with 3470 points – he didn't compete in Wujiang, but won two events at 1000 points each. Peng Wu was (CHN) second with 3405 points with the help of his win in Wujiang. Samuel Watson became the first male climber from the USA to make the Speed series podium, finishing third with 2550 points.
Japan's Ai Mori won gold to become the most successful Japanese women's Lead climber, with three wins this season. Mori reached hold 36+ for the win. Jessica Pilz (AUT) won silver by reaching 31+, her 20th IFSC Lead World Cup podium in her career and third in the 2023 season plus an Olympic ticket.
Mori's teammate Natsuki Tanii won bronze with a score of 26+, her first podium of the season. Yuetong Zhang (CHN) was 4th, Futaba Ito (JPN) 5th, Miho Nonaka (JPN) 6th, Jain Kim (KOR) 7th and Manon Hily (FRA) 8th.
Jessy PILZ (AUT) took the series title at 3235 points, with two silvers and a bronze helping towards her winning score.
Olympic champion Janja Garnbret SLO) finished second on 3000 points. Garnbret only competed in three events in the series and won all three to build her total. Her Slovenian teammate Vita Lukan placed third with 2725 points – a first-ever gold in Briançon was her best result.
Japan locked-out the podium in men's Lead. Sorato Anraku won his third Lead gold in a row in his debut year in the senior competition, scoring 39. Shion Omata was second with 30+, his first medal in what is also his debut senior year.
Taisei Homma completed the podium with a score of 26+. Yoshiyuki Ogata (JPN) was fourth, also reaching 26+ but missing out on countback. Yunchan Song (KOR) was 5th, Ao Yurikusa (JPN) 6th, Sascha Lehmann (SUI) 7th, Nicolas Collin (BEL) 8th.
Sorato Anraku (JPN) had clinched the overall title before Wujiang with an unbeatable points difference ahead of second – 4300 points in total with the help of three wins in a row to finish the series – to become the first male athlete to win both Boulder and Lead series titles, all in his first season in the senior competition
Alex Megos (GER) placed second on 2650 points, having won a silver and bronze in the series in a solid season of performances. Third place went to Taisei Homma with 2455 points – his third place in Wujiang being pivotal in making the podium ahead of teammate Shion Omata in fourth, ten points behind.