Day 7: Ashima Shiraishi and Harold Peeters dominate Lead Youth B Semifinals at Arco World Youth Championships


Semifinals Lead Male Youth B
It’s an important day for the Lead World Championships. After the committing two-day qualifiers – in total 451 athletes split into 3 categories competed in the opening round – access to today’s heat is more restricted. Only the best 26 of each male and female category (hence 156 in total) lined up this morning for the 8 places in the decisive final. Not many if you think about it. Also because from now on there’s no chance to make up for a mistake: there’s just one route, not two like in the qualifiers. It’s clear that most hedge their bets on the leaders of the provisional ranking. So in the Under 16 Youth B category all expect great things off Filip Schenk, the Italian provisional #1 and winner of the Bouldering World Championship on Monday. He’ll probably have to battle it out against Belgium’s Harold Peeters, Spain’s Mikel Asier Linacisoro Molina and also his teammate Pietro Biagini who placed a superb 4th. And today the routes are by no means easy… as can be seen right from the start. But nothing, it seems, can be taken for granted. So much so that halfway through the competition the Frenchmen Pierre Le Cerf and Léo Ferrera lead the provisional ranking after climbing extremely high up the Stadium wall. Japan’s Katsura Konishi got extremely close, separated by a hair’s breadth (same hold, but not moving off it) from America’s Devin Wong. To have a chance of victory the athletes have to forge their way higher and higher. In the meantime France’s Sam Avezou grabs a hold higher than his teammates to take the lead. A trio of Frenchmen in the Lead. Above them an unexplored world of hand and foot holds. But now it’s time for the best 5 from the Qualifiers… The moment of truth has arrived, to check out what this route is all about, to see is anyone can breach the large overhang that bars the way to the top of the route. Mizuki Tajima (Jpn), Nathan Martin (Fra) and Lucas Kepli (Usa) all fall two holds lower than Devin Wong, for the time being still in 5th. Now Pietro Biagini enters the arena. The Italian climbs strong and smoothly, higher and higher, to then fall off exactly the same hold as Le Cerf. Meaning that the Italian, thanks to count back, is currently in first place. Only three competitors remain. Spain’s Mikel Asier Linacisoro Molina falls lower than Ferrera. Harold Peeters immediately confirms his strength, his provisional 2# place after the qualifiers and in the world ranking are fully deserved. Slowly but surely he climbs higher and higher, past all the rest. But not past Avezou: he falls off the very same hold. What is certain is that the Frenchman climbed superbly. Now it’s time for the last man out, Filip Schenk. The last hope to see how exhaustingly difficult this route really is. All the best had fallen from the finishing holds, way up there, way past their“reserve energy” supply. Just like Schenk, who falls off the same hold as Biagini and Le Cerf. Which means that the first in Saturday’s finals, thanks to his better semifinal result, is Harold Peeters (Bel), ahead of Sam Avezou, 2nd, and Filip Schenk 3rd due to countback, while Pietro Biagini is 4th. Pierre Le Cerf makes an astounding 12 place comeback to qualify 5th, ahead of teammate Léo Ferrera 6th (having improved 20 places). Mikel Asier Linacisoro Molina (Esp) and Katsura Konishi (Jpn) complete the list. The Lead Youth B World Championship will be fought out on Saturday. Seeing how close it was today, it’ll be a milimetric battle.

Semifinals Lead Female Youth B
The female Under 16 competition, which took place at the same time as the male event, tackled the large wall on the right. The one that hosts the huge roof, that overhanging wave, that has written the history of Rock Master. Many of the world’s best got “unstuck” on that upside down climbing. So it was interesting to see how the climbers fared today; who would manage to climb over the lip and up to the top? More than half the competitors were needed to find out. Croatia’s Jani Zoraj had climbed up to the roof, Japan’s Karin Kojima had fallen just below her while Italy’s Giorgia Tesio, truly determined today, had fallen 4 holds lower still. Things suddenly change when Laura Rogora starts to climb. The Italian, 10th yesterday, is simply superb today. Clearly so, right from the outset. She climbs, higher and higher, through the roof even…towards the top and… falls. Astounding. Provisional first. It’s now time for the best 10. Russia’s Elena Krasovskaia falls just as Zoraj. Her teammate Viktoriia Meshkova just a hair’s breadth further. Slovenia’s Mia Krampl produces an inspired climb but falls shortly before Rogora, just when the top seems within her grasp. But she’s qualified for the final. Austria’s Sandra Lettner falls lower, while Slovenia’s Vita Lukan tips the scales close to Zoraj. Eva Maria Hammelmüller tumbles lower, while Eliska Adamovska from the Czech Republic reaches the same height at Zoraj and Adamovskaia. At this point only the two Americans remain. The first, Brooke Raboutou,climbs past the Zoraj, Krasovskaia and Adamovska trio but then fails to negotiate the roof (the famous wave) and falls, significantly lower than Rogora and Krampl.

When Ashima Shiraishi enters the arena, the second American and last athlete in this heat, everyone hopes in small “miracle” top. In these World Championships she’s already won the Boulder title by sending all 12 competition problems. In the Lead she continued with 2 tops in 2 routes… And now… now she’s off. The first section seems nothing other than a mere formality. Then she reaches the roof, twists and turns, clips the rope into the carabiners, cuts loose and… continues quickly upwards, above the void ever upwards. To top out with huge safety margin and to a huge applause. So Saturday’s 8 finalist are, in this order: Ashima Shiraishi (Usa), Mia Krampl (Slo), una grandissima Laura Rogora, Brooke Raboutou (Usa), Eliska Adamovska (Cze), Elena Krasovskaia (Rus), Jani Zoraj (Cro) and Viktoriia Meshkova (Rus).

And to relive the excitement of the competition check out the videos, already online!

by Vinicio Stefanello /

– Gallery 2015
– Video 2015
– Results 2015