|IFSC World Cup||Wins||Podiums|
Rishat Khaibullin (KAZ) Age: 25
The surprise package! After a frankly unremarkable IFSC career which had featured one Speed World Cup final appearance and best finishes of 23rd in Boulder and 72nd (!) in Lead, it’s safe to say that nobody was tipping Rishat Khaibullin for a major result in the 2019 IFSC World Championships. However, when the hour came so did the man, and Khaibullin not only qualified for the Combined part of the World Championships, he then went on to win the Speed part of the qualification round, secured his spot in the final and took 3rd there - enough to sail into an Olympic slot.
Since that incredible day back in August 2019 there has - understandably - been plenty of media attention around Khaibullin and his story is becoming better known. He grew up in Kazakhstan, a country where all competition climbers compete in all three disciplines and it was this early exposure to Speed climbing (a discipline that Khaibullin himself describes as “awfully boring”!) that has made him so quick. Four years ago he moved to the Czech Republic and now trains regularly with Adam Ondra and Martin Stranik - good company to be keeping by any standards. Both of those climbers rate Khaibullin as a climber and a man, which is high praise indeed.
Hachioji World Championships: 3rd Place
See above for the story of Khaibullin’s Olympic qualification, a result which shocked everybody except, it would seem, the man himself. Showing up in the big moments is a hugely useful skill and Khaibullin seems to be an expert in it.
Khaibullin’s best IFSC Lead results seem to come in the tougher (because of increased importance and participation numbers) World Championships instead of at run of the mill World Cups - his best finish at a Lead World Cup is 72nd but he’s finished 50th, 52nd and 53rd in the three Lead World Championships he’s contested.
Despite his (somewhat comical) disdain for Speed, a win in the qualification round of that discipline is Khaibullin’s best hope for a spot in the Olympic final. However, with 2019 Speed World Champion Ludovico Fossali and two-time Speed World Cup season champion Bassa Mawem also taking part in Tokyo, Khaibullin will be up against it. We think he’ll miss out on the Speed win and finish in the lower half of the qualification round.