Rock Master: the 2015 athletes

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The list of athletes that will take part in Rock Master 2015 on Saturday, 5 September. The men’s lineup: Stefano Ghisolfi, Sean McColl, Adam Ondra, Ramon Julien Puigblanque, Jakob Schubert, Domen Skofic, Gautier Supper, Francesco Vettorata. The women’s lineup: Mathilde Becerra, Dinara Fakhritdinova, Hélène Janicot, Jain Kim, Jenny Lavarda, Mina Markovic, Jessica Pilz, Anak Verhoeven.

The countdown to the most anticipated competition of the year has begun in earnest. In precisely a week’s time Arco will be literally invaded by more than 1,000 young athletes taking part in IFSC World Youth Climbing Championships 2015. So after the the success of the 2011senior World Championship, this year the beautiful Italian town braces itself to host the young climbers of the new generation. But Arco wouldn’t be Arco if it didn’t continue to run the annual Rock Master. For the 29th year running preparations are in full swing to organize the event which, ever since 1987, has been referred to as the “Wimbledon of climbing” and due to this year’s World Championships the Rock Master will take place on Saturday 5 September in just one single test: the Duel.

The Duel is an exclusive competition formula ‘invented’ at Arco’s Climbing Stadium, where the best eight athletes in the world compete against each other on two difficult, identical and parallel routes. The first athlete to reach the top eliminates the other, all the way down to the final battle. Tactics, determination, total control, explosive climbing and the desire to take to the wire are what is needed. Only the best climbers in the world are invited to take part and the official list of the 8 magnificent athletes facing each other on Saturday, 5 September at 21:00 has now been published.

Strictly in alphabetical order, here are the main players: Stefano Ghisolfi, one of Italys’ strongest athletes. His victory in China in 2014 indicates that Ghisolfi may have just what it takes to become the first Italian to win the coveted trophy. Sean McColl, the fast and powerful Canadian who won the Arco Duel in 2014. Adam Ondra, reigning Lead World Champion and Boulder World Champion. Ramon Julien Puigblanque, the climber who like no other has shaped the history of this competition, his name has been engraved seven times in the Hall of Fame. After last year’s ‘hiccough’, no doubt he’ll now want revenge. Jakob Schubert, silver medalist in the Duel 2014 and winner of last season’s Lead World Cup. A real ‘climbing machine’ who isn’t afraid of anyone. Domen Škofic, the Slovenian who has grown from strength to strength. It will only be a matter of time and luck before he wins his first major senior competition. Gautier Supper, the Frenchman recently won his first ever senior comp by winning in Briancon, and he is the current leader of the Lead World Cup 2015. The list of the magnificent 8 is completed by Francesco Vettorata, the strong Italian who last year missed out on the first Italian Rock Master victory by the smallest of margins.

In the women’s event, the trophy will be contended by Mathilde Becerra, fourth in Arco last year and fourth in the penultimate round of the World Cup at Briancon. Dinara Fakhritdinova, the determined Russian, winner of the Duel in 2014. Hélène Janicot, third in the last Rock Master, managed to beat Fakhritdinova in the recent European Championship. Jain Kim, winner of the Rock Master 2010 and, after three overall World Cup victories, finally became Lead World Champion. The Korean is definitely one of the favorites. To the delight of Italian fans this year’s starting list includes Jenny Lavarda, the climber from Vicenza who has over a decade of experience on these holds. Mina Markovic boasts an impressive resume: European Champion 2015, winner of the 2013 Rock Master, winner of the Lead World Cup 2012. And recently the leader of the 2015 World Cup even onsighted an 8b+ on-sight. Jessica Pilz, one of those athletes who always seems to avoid the limelight despite boasting numerous second and third places, is in a similar position to Skofic: she too will soon find the way victory. Anak Verhoeven, the 19-year-old Belgian is currently 3rd in the provisional ranking and competes in her Rock Master banking on her great 9a redpoint.

The appointment for the Duel is on Saturday, September 5 at the Arco Rock Master Climbing Stadium.

ROCK MASTER 2015

Men
Stefano Ghisolfi (ITA)
Sean McColl (CAN)
Adam Ondra (CZE)
Ramon Julien Puigblanque (ESP)
Jakob Schubert (AUT)
Domen Skofic (SLO)
Gautier Supper (FRA)
Francesco Vettorata (ITA)

Women
Mathilde Becerra (FRA)
Dinara Fakhritdinova ( RUS)
Helene Janicot ( FRA)
Jain Kim (KOR)
Jenny Lavarda (ITA)
Mina Markovic (SLO)
Jessica Pilz (AUT)
Anak Verhoeven (BEL)