With yesterday’s Boulder World Championship already well and truly behind them, today the athletes returned to the Arco Climbing Stadium to compete in the qualifiers of the Lead, the most classic sport climbing discipline. The program was comprised two heats – one route climbed today and the other tomorrow – and the best 26 athletes of each of the three categories will qualify for the next round. Those harboring hopes of victory are a staggering 451 athletes… a small, yet enormous and above all young climbing community that has made the Climbing Stadium come alive with its energy and love for climbing. A hope for the future, not only for climbing.
After an entire day of uninterrupted climbing up the six routes that made their way up the legendary Rock Master wall, in the end the partial result after today’s first qualification heat saw five athletes achieve full marks – i.e. 5 tops. In the Female Youth B (Under 16) category the only athlete to top out was 14-year-old American Ashima Shiraishi who, after winning the Boulder World Championship yesterday, proved her talent (should this still be necessary) in Lead climbing, too. In the Female Youth A (Under 18) category the only top was clinched by the other recently crowned Boulder Champion, Janja Garnbret. Superfluous to say that the Slovenian is a safe bet for the immediate future! Hot on her heels was boulder silver medalist Margo Hayes from Hayes. Provisional third went to Japan’s Aika Tajima, while Asja Gollo (boulder bronze) placed fourth. Two tops were produced in the Juniors: the first by Belgium’s Anak Verhoeven, while the second by boulder bronze medalist Jessica Pilz from Austria. Stasa Gejo from Serbia, after winning the Bouldering World Championship yesterday, trailed in third place.
In the youngest male category (Youth B) no athlete managed to reach the top. The climber who made a mark though by climbing higher than everyone else was Belgium’s Harold Peeters, ahead of recently crowned Bouldering World Champion Filip Schenk and his teammate Pietro Biagini. They were followed by Spain’s Mikel Asier Linacisoro Molina and Russia’s Nikolai Michurov. In the Youth A (Under 18) category the extremely powerful American Kai Lightner was the only athlete to complete the route, and he was followed by second-placed Nicolas Collin from Belgium, Hugo Parmentier from France (bronze in yesterday’s boulder) and Japan’s Taito Nakagami. No top was achieved in the Juniors: provisional first went to Naoki Shimatani from Japan, while his teammates Yuki Hada and Heiichiro Korenaga followed hot on his heels. This tight-knit group was followed by America’s Jesse Grupper, Russia’s Sergei Bydtaev and America’s Sean Bailey.
Tomorrow the Lead continues with the second heat, another marathon that will define the 26 who pass, in each category, into the Semis. It’s a new chance for everyone!
by Vinicio Stefanello / Planetmountain.com