Pure energy. Palpable. That shines as bright as today’s sun. The start of the IFSC Youth World Championships in Arco gave a taste of what lies in store during this great sport climbing event. It is already, and will be ben more so in the upcoming days, a celebration of this sport. Which was kicked off this morning by the female boulder, split into three categories: Youth A, Youth B and Juniors. In total 183 athletes competed for the 20 Semifinal places up for grabs. 51 nations were represented. A superb melting pot of colours, smiles, of energy. Yes, the energy, concentration and technical ability of the girls, who travelled here from all over the world, won supreme. The entire Climbing Stadium was filled with their smiles, their desire to climb, to solve the boulder problems. reaching the top, understanding how to unravel and send the problem was their aim. Try, try, and try again to succeed was the mantra. For hours the vertical marathon continued in every corner of the “field”, with the aim of giving it their very best. It was difficult not to get involved. Impossible even to not be taken in by how the athletes were performing. By their technical ability, but also seriousness and stubbornness with which they interpreted this great game of bouldering, of climbing.
At the end of the long day it was time for the first results. In the “smallest” category – Youth B (under 16) – the young star Ashima Shiraishi shone brightly. The 14-year-old American is a true climbing phenomenon outdoors and in her first international competition she qualified for the semis with top marks (4 out of 4 tops in 9 attempts), meaning that she is provisional first. This was a great performance by an obvious talent that, as it happens, has been nominated for the Salewa Rock Award in this year’s Arco Rock Legends (the rock climbing Oscar) which will be announced on Friday 4 September, here at Arco of course. But there were plenty of other young talents here today. Such as Russian Elena Krasovskaia who finished second with 3 tops in 4 attempts. With 3 tops, although with more attempts needed but nevertheless with clear hopes of final victory, were: Eva Maria Hammelmüller (Aut) and Brooke Raboutou (Usa) daughter of Didier and Robyn Erbesfield – two great climbers who dominated the historic Rock Master era. They were followed, in 5th place and with three tops, Laura Rogora who climbed superbly today, as did her teammate Nora Rainer who managed to qualify last for the final.
In the category Youth A (Under 18), Slovenian champion Janja Garnbret got off to a superb, somewhat unsurprising start and her current first place in the World Ranking says it all. Not by chance she qualified, nigh perfectly, with 4 tops in 5 attempts. She was followed, without much ado and three tops, by Johanna Holfeld (Ger) and the two Americans Margo Hayes and Grace McKeehan. Johanna Färber (Aut) qualified 5th, ahead of Charlotte Andre from France and Franziska Steerer from Austria. Italy’s Asja Gollo confirmed her provisional 2nd place in the World Ranking by placing 8th.
In the Juniors (Under 20) event it was Japan’s Miho Nonaka who, after having sent all 4 problems in 5 attempts, gave a clear indication of her intentions and superb form. She was followed into Sunday’s Semis, with 3 tops but split by the number of attempts, by a truly positive Stasa Gejo (Srb) and Jessica Pilz (Aut). Provisional 4th – confirming that the American team is here for business – went to Kyra Condie who shared this position with France’s Margaux Pucheux. 6th went to local athlete Martina Zanetti who truly honored her home city, while Italian hopes remained high with Andrea Ebner who qualified 10th.
The female Semifinal takes place on Sunday, while the male qualifications begin tomorrow morning. All is set for another marathon climbing session and great battles. And this evening the over a thousand athletes taking part in these World Championships will take part in the Opening Ceremony!
by Vinicio Stefanello / Planetmountain.com