Today’s Open was a real battle, the first phase of the Rock Master men’s boulder proved fiercer than ever before as the climbers fought to ensure a place in Sunday’s final. 24 athletes had travelled all the way from Australia, Mexico, China, Japan, Russia, Italy… in short, this was an international competition that went down to the wire, to the last attempt. While there were only 4 “tickets” up for grabs to the next round, 5 problems had to sent in whatever order the athletes wanted. A staggering 15 athletes succeeded in climbing all problems.
Christopher Webb-Parsons impressed all with his speed: the Australian sent all problems straight off, bar one which he sent second go, and then he packed his rucksack, sat down satisfied and watched the rest of the competition unfold. Right behind him a very determined Shinta Ozawa from Japan who needed one attempt more than Webb-Parsons but, and here lies the subtle difference, two attempts less to reach the zone than Mauricio Huerta. The Mexican placed 3rd and, just like year, took this opportunity to qualify for the final. As did Slovenia’s Klemen Becan (who yesterday qualified for the Lead) and Korea’s Jabee Kim who qualified 4th equal.
Stefan Scarpieri disappointed Italian hopes when his dream of qualifying for the final by a hair’s breadth. Just like Kim and Becan, the climber from Bolzano sent 5 problems in 8 attempts, but he needed one try more to reach the bonus zone. Too bad. But this is what bouldering is all about, and Scarpieri knows this all too well. Just like all the other athletes, who this morning battled it out in this impressive first round, worthy of all Rock Master competitions.
The women’s competition, just like the men’s, was dominated by uncertainty. Suffice to say that 8 sent all Open problems. One athlete though, more than everyone else, climbed perfectly: Mathilde Becerra. During yesterday’s Lead the Frenchwoman had proven her form to qualify for the Lead and in today’s Boulder she demonstrated her true class by qualifying with full marks. 5 problems sent first go, better than this is simply impossible! Second place, due to 2 more attempts needed, went to two superb boulderers. The first is 2009 World Champion Yulia Abramchuk from Russia, while the second is Annalisa De Marco; her great climb today demonstrates clearly why this 17-year old from Feltre is considered one of Italy’s great hopes. Both beat, by a “nothing” (read 1 fewer attempt to reach the bonus zone) Aya Onoe from Japan who can nevertheless console herself with the last ticket into the final. Unlike Alizée Dufraisse from France who failed for just one attempt more to reach that bonus hold… The same holds true, more or less, to the other 4 who send all 5 problems but nevertheless had to bid farewell to the dream of continuing on to the final. Meagan Martin finished sixth, Vera Zijlstra from Holland seventh, while Valeri Kremer from Israel who last year successfully clinched a ticket into the final, finished eighth.
The die will be cast on Sunday, with the men’s final at 13:00 followed by the women’s final at 17:00. It’s bound to be a spectacular show, just like the live RAI sport 1 transmission that kicks off at 14:30.
by Vinicio Stefanello / Planetmountain.com