The fifth round of the IFSC Lead World Cup took place at EICA Ratho near Edinburgh this weekend. For the first time in 14 years, the IFSC lead circuit returned to the UK, once again attracting the World's best lead competition climbers to the quarry-turned-climbing wall in Ratho, which was also the chosen venue for the UIAA World Cup in December 2003. The weekend also hosted a round of the IFSC Speed World Cup and the Paraclimbing Cup.
The GB team were out in force in front of a home crowd, with the GB Paraclimbing team winning five medals in the Paraclimbing Cup and four athletes making the semi-finals in the lead World Cup: local man Will Bosi, Hannah Slaney, Molly Thompson-Smith and Jen Wood. Hannah qualified for her first senior final - in what was only her second ever senior IFSC lead event - and finished in an impressive 7th place following a determined climb in the final.
Molly Thompson-Smith - who made her first senior final in Arco last month - narrowly missed out on a final position on countback and finished in 9th place. Will gave a gutsy performance in his first senior semi-final to finish 17th in his home event and Jen placed 23rd in what was also her first semi-final.
In the women's final, Hannah Slaney joined a strong line-up of regular finalists headed up by Janja Garnbret (SLO). Jessica Pilz (AUT) was first out and set an early highpoint that had the routesetters questioning the difficulty of the climb: was it too easy, or had Jessica simply excelled after only just making the final? Hannah climbed smoothly up to the roof section and fell not far short of Jessica's highpoint. Tina Johnsen-Hafsaas (NOR) misjudged a dynamic move low down and slipped off early, before Julia Chanourdie (FRA) inched slightly higher than Hannah's position in the roof. Anak Verhoeven (BEL) looked uncomfortable on some of the lower moves and miscalculated her time slightly on reaching the roof. Young Ashima Shiraishi (USA) also ran out of time and reached hold 41 before timing out, but continued a couple of moves further, clearly capable of progressing had time not been an issue.
Hannah told UKC: 'Making my first semis and then finals in one go, and in front of a home crowd was incredible! I felt like I gave it my all in finals and was able to show my best so am very happy with the end result. Edinburgh put on a great event - definitely a comp to remember.'
Arco winner Jain Kim (KOR) showed her dramatic change in climbing speed, as she swiftly arrived before the roof section with just under two minutes to spare. A final slap brought Jain just below Jessica's highpoint, and all eyes turned to Janja. Despite having some time in the bag to negotiate the top section, some hesitation cost Janja precious seconds and the clock stopped just as she was nearing the final few moves. Another win for the Slovenian superstar.
The men's final route was an array of volumes and boulder problems. Ramon Julian Puigblanque (ESP) was first out and struggled on the first move - an awkward heel-hook cross-over - due to his small stature. He fell at 24+, setting a low highpoint for the rest of the field. Max Rudigier (AUT) surpassed Ramon's position and Sean Bailey (USA) inched the highpoint to 39+.
Roman Desgranges (FRA) set the bar at 47+ with a stunning fight to take the lead. Thomas Joannes fell at 42, with Jakob Schubert (AUT), Domen Skofic (SLO) and Stefano Ghisolfi all reaching 42+. Romain was a clear winner, with Stefano and Jakob taking 2nd and 3rd place respectively on countback.
In the Paraclimbing Cup, which took place over the same weekend at EICA Ratho, Team GB took home five medals across the categories.
Women RP2 - Hannah Baldwin 2nd, Anita Aggarwal 3rd, Isabella Walsh 6th.
Men AU-2 (Forearm amputee) - Matthew Phillips 2nd
Men Visual Impairment B2 - John Churcher 4th
Women RP3 - Joanna Waterton 4th
Men AL-2 - Phil Mitchell 3rd, Martin Heald 8th, Josh Senior 10th, Keith Lynch 11th.
Men RP3 - Michael Cleverdon 3rd
Anouck Jaubert (FRA) took Gold in the final round with a time of 7.93 seconds, returning to form after having won multiple rounds in previous years. Mariia Krasavina and Iuliia Kaplina (RUS) were the Silver and Bronze medallists. Ludovico Fossali (ITA) won the final with a leisurely time of 19.17 after Stanislav Kokorin (RUS) made a false start in the final. Young Scot Max Milne placed 19th and Pippa Watkin finished 20th as the highest placed GB male and female.
IFSC Climbing Worldcup (L,S) - Edinburgh (GBR) 2017
Watch the Lead final highlights and replays below:
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