The fourth round of the IFSC Lead World Cup took place in the historic climbing village of Arco, Italy last weekend. 19 year old GB team member Molly Thompson-Smith finished in 8th place and took 3rd in the famous Arco Duel - a head-to-head speed climb on a lead route - becoming the first British athlete to reach a senior World Cup final in lead since Lucy Creamer in 2003. 18 year old Jim Pope narrowly missed out on finals in 13th place - his best result yet in his second ever senior event. Korea's Jain Kim and Jakob Schubert of Austria were the surprise winners of this round.
A technical women's final route caused timing issues for many of the competitors, who either timed out or were at risk of doing so had they reached past the lower cruxes. All eyes were on Ashima Shiraishi (USA) as she made her World Cup debut and qualified for the final alongside Molly and some more seasoned finalists. Jain Kim overcame a risky jump move with static technique to match the early highpoint of Anne-Sophie Koller (SUI), just as she timed out. Jain took Gold on countback. Favourites for the win Janja Garnbret (SLO) and Anak Verhoeven (BEL) were stopped in their tracks by the same move and settled for 3rd and 6th place respectively.
Commenting on her performance, Molly told UKC:
'Getting the chance to compete in my first WC finals in Arco was such an amazing experience. It was nice to feel comfortable and not out of place during the competition and I'm glad that my physical and mental performances are constantly improving. It was even cooler to be able to compete in the Rockmaster Duel that evening! Super excited for the next World Cup, especially as it's at home (kind of!) in Edinburgh.'
In the men's event, Alex Megos (GER) dominated the previous rounds, but unfortunately fell early in the final on a blind slap around the arête. Time was an issue once again for the men on a steep route filled with volumes, as Jakob Schubert (AUT) timed out whilst setting a highpoint at 39. Adam Ondra (CZE) and Max Rudigier (AUT) were close behind on 38+ with some time left to spare.
The next round takes place at EICA Ratho near Edinburgh, on 23rd-24th September.
Watch the replays below:
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