Day 3: Jongwon Chon and Miho Nonaka command the Juniors Boulder Semifinal


At 18:00 the benevolent Ora breeze that whisks across Lake Garda cools the air slightly. Providing a much-needed respite. At the starting blocks there’s today’s third Semifinal, the Juniors a.k.a. Under 20. At this point the games (and problems) begin in earnest. Many of these youngsters have already competed in the Senior World Cup circuit. For many it’s their last Youth World Championship. So it’s clear that they all want to make the most of this opportunity and win one of those 6 tickets for the Final. The start is understandably tough and intense. Like that of Russia’s Sergei Skorodumov who immediately reveals his intentions with tops of problems #1, #2 and #3, before “flailing” on the difficult overhangs on problem #4. His performance is truly remarkable: 3 tops, 17 attempts, destined to remain on top of the leaderboard for a while. That is, until Slovenia’s Anze Peharc, South Korea’s Jongwon Chon and France’s Nicolas Pelorson enter the arena. Peharc starts poorly, messing up #1, but then proceeds unstoppable: in 7 determined attempts he gets the better of boulder #2, needs just 2 attempts for #3 and the tops out on the overhanging, balance problem #4. His 3 tops in 14 attempts secures a place in the final. Pelorson makes few mistakes and qualifies with a score of 3 tops in 12 attempts. Chon weaves and contorts his way past the two huge round volumes to send #1 3rd go. On #2 he battles unrelentingly, sending it 12th go, before flashing #3. He ends his great climbs by topping problem #4 3rd go, which means that he’s provisional first with 4 tops in 19 attempts. What a comp! Tense and uncertain until the very end. America’s Nathaniel Coleman starts perfectly, flashing the first two with startling ease. On #3 he tops out second go. All that is needed now is #4 to finish off his masterpiece, but it isn’t to be. Never mind: with 3 tops in 4 attempts he’s provisional second. So trailing magnificent Korean Jongwon Chon – the only athlete to top out on all 4 problems – there’s: America’s Nathaniel Coleman, France’s Nicolas Pelorson, Slovenia’s Anze Peharc and Russia’s Sergei Skorodumov. Japan’s Tomoa Narasaki, with 2 tops in 5 attempts (one less than Spaniard Jonatan Flor Vazquez and Germany’s Alexander Wurm) grabs the last place for the finals. Tomorrow the battle will continue with the last act! And knowing what bouldering holds in store and how things developed today… anything might happen!


The Female Juniors comp is immediately dominated by Belgian’s Chloé Caulier who tops out on the first three, by no means easy, problems. Even if she fails on the last hurdle it’s clear that today she can’t do any better: 3 tops in 4 attempts are certainly a mighty bet for the final. So much so that when the time comes for the last 5 athletes (the best from the qualifiers), Caulier still leads the provisional ranking. All the others have only sent one problem at the most. Yes, Caulier’s climbs today were relentless, doubly noteworthy since she’d qualified 19th, the penultimate for the Semis. When it’s time for the strongest it’s clear that she looses her leadership, feeding to the power and perfection of Miho Nonaka, unsurprisingly the winner of the first round. The Japanese ace produced a nigh perfect Semifinal run: 4 tops in 5 attempts. As nigh perfect as the 4 top, 7 attempts score of Serbia’s Stasa Gejo (one of the great revelations of these games). Austria’s Jessica Pilz produces a stellar performance with 4 tops in 10 attempts to qualify fourth, while the remaining two athletes are Julija Kruder (3 tops in 5 attempts) and France’s Margaux Pucheux (3 top in 9 attempts). Tomorrow it’ll start anew with the grand finale!

by Vinicio Stefanello /

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