MALE YOUTH B BOULDER
Male Youth B Semifinal got off to a lightening fast start and, in line with bouldering’s tradition, the comp proved ‘unpredictable’ to sat the least. China’s Dichong Huang, 20th after Friday’s qualifiers, got he ball rolling. He failed on #1, but then picked up the pieces and sent #2. David Piccolruaz, provisional 19th, strolled up #1 and then sent both #2 and #3. The Italian was evidently highly charged, determined like never before. In a word: magnificent! All that remained was the last problem, the red slab that had infuriated Huang who scored 2 tops in total. Was this going to be decisive problem? On his first attempt Piccolruaz exceeded himself, almost produced the miracle top but only just failed to stick the final hold. He tried, and tried again, but no go. The Italian concluded his run with ascore of 3 tops, 6 attempt. This wasimmediately bettered by Columbia’s Juan Diego Romero Salguedo with 3 tops and 5 attempts. They were followed by Belgium’s Lukas Franckaert (3 tops but two more attempts needed to reach the bonus) and Russia’s Nikolai Michurov (11 attempts, but the first to send the slab on boulder #4). At this point many believed that there would be a deluge of 3 tops. But it wasn’t to be. Apart from Japan’s Keita Dohi – who leapt to provisional 4th with 3 tops in 9 attempts – the standings remained “firm.” That is, until Matteo Manzoni took the centre stage. The Italian climbed determinedly, flashing #1 to place provisional 6th… the last for the final. Which meant that 4 tops, or 3 in less than 11 attempts, were needed to qualify for the final. At this point the crowd waited with baited breath for Filip Schenk, the Italian who had “won” the qualifications. And Schenk certainly didn’t wait to be asked twice: #1 second go, #2 flash, #3 second go… but then he was stumped by slab #4. This though was a minor detail as it was he who, by a hair’s breadth of just one attempt less for the bonus zone, qualified first for tomorrow’s Finals. He was followed by competition revelation Juan Diego Romero Salguedo. The third finalists, with a record-breaking catchup from 19th to 3rd, was the other Italian, David Piccolruaz. The lineup was completed by Lukas Franckaert from Belgium, Keita Dohi from Japan and Nikolai Michurov from Russia. Big disappointment for (excellent) Matteo Manzoni, the third Italian who with 3 tops in 11 attempts was first excluded from the finals, split by the smallest of margins: one attempt in a zone. One thing is certain: tomorrow’s final will be fireworks, and light up the (great and enthusiastic) spectators of these Youth World Championships.
FEMALE YOUTH B BOULDER
In the Female Under 16 the battle was just as intense. The “battle field” was the Lead Wall, on the boulders created at the base of the legendary Rock Master wall. And the girls didn’t waste a minute. Not even a second. Vita Lukan from Slovenia, only 11th in the qualifiers, climbed superbly and took the lead with 3 boulders in 5 attempts. She was followed into provisional 2nd place by teammate Urska Repusic; 3 tops but 5 more attempts than Lukan confirmed that Slovenia has a superb squad. In this heat things seemed fairly clear from the outset: while the first two problems required technique they were “doable”, while the key to unlocking the final was on problems 3 and 4. Elena Krasovskaia from Russia succeeded with 3 tops in 6 attempts, beating Repusic. America’s Brooke Raboutou confirmed her climbing DNA with 3 tops in 10 attempts and one zone more than Repusic. Italy’s Giorgia Tesio battled hard but after having sent the first two problems in 7 attempts (6 of which on #1) she failed to breach the overhangs on problems #3 and #4. In an all-out battle on problem #1 (sent on her 12th attempt) the other Italian, Laura Rogora, flashed problems #2 and above all fateful #3. Only to fail though on the 4th and final problem. Which, until then, had proved impossible for everyone. At the end of the day those 12 attempts on #1 would cost Rogora dearly, as it was these that excluded her from the Finals. She was beaten, due to fewer zone attempts, by Austria’s Eva Maria Hammelmüller, 7th and first excluded from the final, and above all by America’s Natalia Grossman who qualified last with 3 tops in 13 attempts. Talking about American’s and that seemingly impossible problem #4, there’s a final anecdote worth focusing on: 14-year old Ashima Shiraishi, winner of the qualifiers with full marks, with 4 out of 4 boulders. We’d mentioned her talent previously… well, today she seemed even greater. Ashima entered the arena and sent all four problems (including #4) first go. A perfect competition, without even pausing to blink. It’s clear that she, Ashima Shiraishi, is the one to beat tomorrow. The other 5 magnificent finalists will do their best: Slovenia’s Vita Lukan, Russia’s Elena Krasovskaia, America’s Brooke Raboutou, the other Slovenia Urska Repusic and the other (third) American Natalia Grossman. It promises to be a great final, almost a match USA vs Slovenia, with the odd one out: Russia. These too are… world news!
by Vinicio Stefanello / Planetmountain.com