|IFSC World Cup||Wins||Podiums|
YuFei Pan (CHN) Age: 19
Guangzhou native YuFei Pan was a relative unknown internationally until 2017, when he placed 3rd in the Xiamen Lead World Cup, seemingly arriving out of the blue. Pan dropped off the radar in 2018, but 2019 was at once his comeback and break-out year: he made semi-finals in every Boulder World Cup he entered and narrowly missed out on finals in Wujiang in 8th place. When the Lead season kicked off, Pan demonstrated that his 2017 Xiamen podium result wasn’t a fluke by finishing 2nd in the first Lead World Cup of the year in Villars.
Pan has long been touted by the Chinese as one to watch, and with the rise of climbing as a sport in China, there’s no doubt that he has a promising future as more opportunities become available to him. Through competing and medaling in the Asian Youth Championships, Pan has been exposed to his slightly older Japanese heros, including Tomoa Narasaki. Pan’s Instagram includes photos of him posing with his Japanese idols a few years ago, and now he’s heading to the world’s biggest sporting event to compete alongside them. At the end of the 2019 Boulder season, Pan commented on Instagram: ‘Learned a lot from those competitions. Especially controlling the mind during the competition. Still need to improve a lot.’ Pan clearly has the ability, but he’s still young and there’s no doubt that with more mental control over his performance, he’ll be a regular podium-finisher on the circuit – perhaps in two disciplines.
Toulouse Combined Qualifier: 6th place
Hachioji wasn’t Pan’s best performance, but in Toulouse his status as one of the most well-rounded athletes was confirmed: a 6th in Lead, 4th in Boulder and 3rd in Speed, with a win in Boulder in the Qualification round.
According to IFSC World Cup medal and Speed PB rankings, Pan is the 7th-best ranked in both Lead (rankings) and Speed (PB-wise) of the Olympic-qualified men, and 10th in Boulder (rankings).
With a bit more IFSC competition experience, Pan should become more consistent across the three disciplines and will be a real contender in Paris 2024 if the Lead and Boulder Combined format is confirmed. In Tokyo, if Pan can pull off one of his stellar performances and score a high ranking in Lead, he could well make the top-10, but given his slightly erratic results, we’ll settle for top-15.