The Rab CWIF 2017 is over and it certainly didn't disappoint. With a long list of seasoned IFSC World Cup competitors as well as some seriously strong outdoor boulderers, there was talk of this year's event being a 'World Cup plus'. German star Alex Megos became the first male to regain a CWIF Champion title and Mélissa le Nevé of France broke Shauna Coxsey's 5-time winning streak in her absence. Michaela Tracy and Matt Cousins did their home crowd proud, finishing in 3rd and 4th place respectively.
Alex's participation in all stages of the competition was uncertain, thanks to a lingering finger injury that is clearly causing him some issues. Jongwon Chon had dominated the qualifying and semi-final rounds and initially looked set to take the win in the finals as he floated up a seemingly impossible jump problem, but the slab on Men's 3 wasn't to his liking.
Fortunately for Alex, two slab problems saved the day throughout the event: the one that qualified him for finals and the one that he topped to win in the final. Having struggled on some of the steeper, crimpier problems due to his injury, Alex then excelled on the filthy slab that - luckily for him - appeared to have no holds on it anyway. The only climber to top this problem, Alex bowed down to the slab at the end of the event...with a cup of tea in hand. Only two tops were achieved in the entire men's final, showing the difficulty of the problems that were expertly set by Percy Bishton and his team. Great Britain's Matt Cousins put in a valiant effort throughout the round to finish in 4th place behind Italian dark horse, Michael Piccolruaz.
In the women's final, current World Champion Petra Klingler was the one to watch, having topped the leaderboard in both of the previous rounds. Complete with a 'robotic' knee support following an injury at the UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup in January, Petra didn't seem too phased by her injury. In the final round, however, it was Mélissa le Nevé who came out on top; clearly demonstrating her current form after ticking her first 8B+ in Font last week.
The last women's problem was topped only by Mélissa, which sealed her victory after a close-fought round with Petra. Team GB's Michaela Tracy put her trademark enthusiasm to good use, constantly smiling and enjoying every minute of the final as she climbed to third place behind Petra and just ahead of former World Champion Jule Wurm.
In the team event, there was a joint winner with Team Scarpa UK (Michaela Tracy, Nathan Phillips, Matt Cousins and Dave Barrans) and Team J-WAD (Jimmy Webb, Jernej Kruder, Julia Kruder and Jongwon Chon) achieving equal scores.
Now all eyes are on the 2017 IFSC Boulder World Cup circuit, which kicks off on 7th April in Meiringen, Switzerland.
Watch the replay of the finals below:
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