The destination for the next round in the World Cup was held in Hamilton, Toronto, Canada.
Due to the competition being further afield it meant that the number of athletes was much smaller; however most of the big names were still present except current WC leader Dimtrii Sharafutdinov and all the Russian female climbers. In the past the Russian athletes have struggled with visas, so I imagine bureaucracy must have scuppered them again. Dimtrii is quite a long way ahead in the men's title race and so this will just make it a little more exciting as the season is winding down!
The Qualifiers seemed a pretty standard affair with all the main names advancing to semis and few surprises.
The wall in Hamilton is in the local bouldering gym and is very steep with a small vertical section at either end, this combined with the hold selection (meaty pinches and slopers) and Jamie Cassidy as the head route setter meant the athletes got a lot of burly, powerful climbing over the weekend.
The other thing that the athletes noticed was the level of noise made by the crowd, and not just for the Canadian athletes; the Hamilton climbers seemed a very enthusiastic bunch indeed!
Semi-finals were much the same as the qualifiers; lots of burly moves on bad holds. For the girls they were a little easy and four out of the six that qualified flashed them all; the other two just dropping one attempt! There were a further three girls who did all four boulders but took too many attempts.
The men's were a little harder with the cut off being three boulders but only two men did all four.
And so to the finals, and what a finals it was! The problems followed that similar theme of being HARD, the crowd were loud and ruckus and there was lots of excitement. Both men's and women's came down to the last problem!
Sean McColl had been on another level in the qualifiers but had fizzled out a little in the semis; could he regain some of his magic from the first round or would Kilian, seemingly back on form, win gold? Other athletes to contest the finals were Jakob Schubert, Jorg Verhoeven, Rustam Gelmanov and Rei Sugimoto.
The women's finals line up was pretty standard- Anna, Akiyo, Puccio, Katharina Saurwein, Momoka Oda and Shauna.
The women's final came down to the last problem with four of the athletes having done the previous climbs. Their attempts were different but problem four looked the hardest yet and I thought just topping it could give one of them the win. Akiyo was in the lead after problem three but this climb looked like it was designed for Alex; very steep on big squeezy holds and not too hard to work out the beta. Shauna seemed to run out of steam on this boulder and her attempts on previous problems would have made it very hard for her to win, Alex looked strong but came off twice on a tricky dead point after the bonus hold, Akiyo used cunning/incredible beta to get to the same point as Alex but she also looked fatigued and that left one athlete. After seemingly being out of the running for gold due to her attempts on the previous climbs Anna pulled this one right out of the bag and managed to top bloc four with thirty-eight seconds on the clock, absolutely amazing!
The men's final seemed to be a two man show after bloc two. Only Kilian and Jorg managed to top the techy groove climb and with none doing bloc three it meant that it was a three problem final. If Kilian did the fourth climb in two goes or less he would win on bonuses, anymore attempts than that and it would give Jorg the opportunity to take gold. The last bloc however seemed to be one of the easiest for the men and most people flashed it with just Kilian and Sean taking 2 attempts to do it. That was enough for Kilian, and he took his 20th bouldering World Cup victory, showing his dominance of the sport over the last decade.
Another round up complete with just the wonder and blunder of the competition to do.
The blunder goes to Alex Puccio who decided to match the finishing hold of men's problem three in the finals instead of the women's problem, luckily she realised before dropping off and so it didn't affect her result!
And the wonder goes to..... Kilian for just being that good and dominant in the sport for such a long period. Since 2004 he has finished first overall five times and second four times. Although Anna is catching up with him as she has 18 WC titles to her name.
Final Results: British Results:
1st: Kilian Fischuber and Anna Stöhr. 4th: Shauna Coxsey.
2nd: Jorg Verhoeven and Akiyo Noguchi. 12th: Mina Leslie-Wujastyk.
3rd: Jakob Schubert and Alex Puccio. 15th: Leah Crane.
4th: Rei Sugimoto and Shauna Coxsey. 22nd: Tom Newman.
5th: Rustam Gelmanov and Momoka Oda. 25th: Diane Merrick.
6th: Sean McColl and Katharina Saurwein. 30th: Ned Feehally.
33rd: Jon Partridge and Ben West.
Here is the video from the competition:
David Mason is UKC's World Cup Reporter, feeling passionate about getting the results of both Team GB and other participants heard in the UK to boost competition climbing's profile.
David is no slouch on the bouldering front either; with many hard boulder problems up to Font 8B and a flash ascent of Simba's Pride (E8) to his name.
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