Day 4: Italy’s Filip Schenk is World Champion Boulder Under 16. Serbia’s Stasa Gejo wins Boulder Juniors


There’s no point denying it. We’re in Arco. And so two Italians in the running for the Youth B World Champion title cannot leave the home crowd indifferent. Also because the first, Filip Schenk, dominated the first two heats. And the second, David Piccolruaz, had made an astounding comeback in the Semifinals, from 19th to provisional 3rd. Both come from Santa Cristina Valgardena. Both are natural climbing talents. Today’s their big chance, but they both know that what they’ve done so far counts for almost nothing. Everyone starts with a clean sheet, and in these Finals the Italians are joined by Russia’s Nikolai Michurov, Japan’s Keita Dohi, Belgium’s Lukas Franckaert and Columbia’s Juan Diego Romero Salguedo who – provisional second – is the absolute revelation of this competition.

The first problem is one of those you’d never want to have to deal will. It’s that ‘infamous’ red slab. That demands total balance and complete control of both the body and mind. Not ideal for the inevitable excitement that builds up prior to such an important competition. The first three to tackle it (Michurov, Dohi and Franckaert) fail to climb past the bonus hold… Then it’s time for Piccolruaz. in the Semis the Italian had failed on this hurdle and here, now… he failed to top out. The start if almost exclusively a game of delicate footwork, followed by an ascent towards the seemingly unreachable final hold. Romero Salguedo tries and tries again, but he too remains empty-handed. But then Schenk takes the stage. And just like the others, he seems to stand no chance… But only for two attempts because, on his third go, he miraculously places his foot above his head to rock over sky high and reach the top. His start can’t be better.

Now it’s time for problem #2, the overhanging kingdom with a dyno to an ultra slopy sloper. Power is needed here, and also total body control. Everyone gives it their best, including Piccolruaz (who gets close to the penultimate hold), but no one manages the send. Not even Romero Salguedo who remains in provisional last place. That is, until Schenk comes and, on his 4th attempt, solves the riddle. By sticking that exit hold that had eluded all the rest. Today seems to be Scheck’s day, simply unstoppable. But, so as not to bring about some bad luck, no Italian dares make any comments. But they keep their fingers crossed.

What is certain is that, seeing that all others have no tops, if Schenk sends #3 he’ll be crowned World Champion. Yes, that 3rd problem, the same one (overhanging and up the holds that resemble a climber) that none of the Junior women had managed to send. And the male athletes fare no better, the top remains elusive. So with 1 boulder remaining, Filip Schenk with his 2 tops vs 0 is already Youth B World Boulder Champion. The first gold medal for Italy in these games! That joins the bronze won by Asja Gollo this morning in female Youth B.

But it isn’t over yet. The 4th problem proves decisive for the other podium positions. All still stand a chance, even Piccolruaz. But it’s Japan’s Keita Dohi who makes a serious bid for silver by reaching the top first. No one manages to repeat his performance, until (by now you know the story) Schenk arrives. And produces a little masterpiece, flashing #4 with some impeccable technique. It’s the icing on the cake and, at the same time, the hallmark of this great champion. Keita Dohi celebrates his World Championships by finishing second, ahead of Belgium’s Lukas Franckaert who takes bronze. David Piccolruaz finishes 5th while Columbia’s Juan Diego Romero Salguedo places 6th.
In the female Juniors competition the start is the best an athlete can dream of. On the overhanging boulder #1 four athletes manage the flash: Japan’s Miho Nonaka, Austria’s Jessica Pilz, Serbia’s Stasa Gejo and (naturally) Japan’s Miho Nonaka who “won” the Semis. Chloé Caulier from Belgium reaches the top, but in 4 attempts. While Slovenia’s Julija Kruder remains empty-handed. On problem #2 things change, radically… The athletes need to breach the overhang using the holds that resemble a climber. Bizarre. Perhaps some remember those Arco Rock Junior days when they were kids. Except that this time no one has any fun whatsoever, seeing that no one manages to understand the problem, let alone climb it! Only Nonaka (in 2 attempts) and Pilz (in 3 attempts) manage to reach the zone, which puts them in provisional 1st and 2nd respectively. Until this point it’s been a rather strange competition, played out on the most delicate equilibrium imaginable. And on problem #3 (the balance red slab) things look no different, until Kruder reaches the zone. This is the same problem that only Youth B male finalist Filip Schenk had sent, and for the female athletes it seemed simply too much. Until Stasa Gejo pulled the rabbit out of the hat and, with absolute class, sends the top second go. So now it’s she – the only athlete with 2 tops – who has victory in her sight. But as usual things go to the wire on the 4th and final problem. Three athletes are still in the running for gold: Caulier, Pilz and Nonaka. But to do so they need to top out immediately, first go. That is, if Gejo doesn’t do so as well. Where Caulier and Pilz fail, Nonaka passes… 8th go. Too many to beat Serbia’s Stasa Gejo who, with 2 tops in 3 attempts, is the new Boulder Juniors World Champion – the title deservedly goes to this athlete. She is followed, with 2 tops in 8 attempts, by Japan’s Miho Nonaka who wins silver, while Austria’s Jessica Pilz beats Margaux Pucheux by just a zone to take bronze.

by Vinicio Stefanello /

– Gallery 2015
– Video 2015
– Results 2015