Day 4: Yoshiyuki Ogata World Champion Boulder Under 18. Jongwon Chon Juniors Boulder World Champion


It seems as if there’s no rush to finish the final act of the Youth A Boulder. Better still, that’s the impression the spectators are given when watching Belgium’s Arnaud Ansion who sends, in 7 attempts, the opening problem. But the others are there, chomping the bit, ready to deal with this first test. And so one after the next they reach the top, all with a formidable flash. Hugo Parmentier gets the ball rolling, followed by Japan’s Kai Harada, America’s Shawn Raboutou, France’s Jules Nicouleau Bourles and naturally by the “winner” of the semis, Japan’s Yoshiyuki Ogata. Boulder #2 is the tried-and-tested red slab. Littered with a series of tiny white hand and footholds that lead an intricate way to the top. Ansion deals with this second go. Better than Parmentier, who needs 3, while Harada matches on the finishing hold on his second attempt. One thing is clear: he who makes a mistake in this first half of the competition risks being left behind. But no one falters: Raboutou tops fourth go, just like Nicouleau Bourles, while Ogata needs just two. At the half-way stage the two Japanese are joint-equal, even if Ogata is in the lead on countback to his Semifinal victory. Parmentier lies in provisional third with 2 top in 4 attempts. The competition becomes interesting to say the least, the World Champion title will be decided by the smallest of margins. the pressure gets to Ansion on problem #3 and he fails to reach the top. As do Parmentier, Raboutou and Nicouleau Bourles. But Harada is unleashed and sends the overhanging arete in the blink of an eye, in a flash, to send his third problem. As does Ogata. So prior to problem #4 the two Japanese are perfectly parred. Were the competition to end here, then Ogata would take gold thanks to the Semifinal victory. But there’s one more problem in store, boulder #4, the same one climbed by the Juniors. Ansion and Parmentier make little headway. Harada comes out of isolation. All know that this is the decisive climb, and he sends it second go. The Japanese, tonight, is monstrous. The crowd manages to catch its breath as Raboutou and Nicouleau Bourles fall. Then it’s Yoshiyuki Ogata turn and, without waiting to be asked twice, he climbs like a rocket to flash the problem, his 4th top this evening, and become Youth A World Champion. Kai Harada (4 tops in 6 attempts, just one more than Ogata) gives Japan the historic one-two double, while France’s Hugo Parmentier (2 tops in 4 attempts) wins the bronze medal by beating America’s Shawn Raboutou by just one attempt. This too – or perhaps exactly this – is what bouldering is all about!

The magnificent six Under 20 Juniors finalists are all expert athletes. They know just how important this last round is. They also know, having seen the other finals today, that (almost) anything can happen. The start is one of those that might determine the final outcome: Japan’s Tomoa Narasaki (last qualified for these finals) climbs upwards, like a juggler, pinching his way past the unholdable volumes and pyramids that pave the way. And then, voilà, with disarming ease he tops out. Too easy? It’s all relative is what Monsieur de La Palisse would say. And as it happens, Sergei Skorodumov requires 9 stubborn attempts to top out. While Slovenia’s Anze Peharc, France’s Nicolas Pelorson and Korea’s Jongwon Chon repeat Narasaki performance by flashing their way through this first obstacle. America’s Nathaniel Coleman (somewhat surprisingly, seeing that in the semis he placed second) needs 4 attempts to unravel the problem. So at present 4 are in the lead. But this is only the start, there’s no need to worry too much at this stage.

Especially since problem #2 proves to cause issues to everyone, or almost everyone. Pelorson sends it 3rd go. While Chon demonstrates why he’s the current world #1 by flashing easily flashing this “pull-up” sequence. On problem #3 Tomoa Narasaki makes his move and leaves a mark, he certainly doesn’t want to be left behind and tops out second go. Skorodumov fails. While Peharc, Pelorson and Coleman flash this boulder. Chon for his part shows the first signs of tiring (so to speak) by sending this problem 3rd go and, in doing so, giving Pelorson a glimmer of hope who promptly draws level.

Then, on the final and decisive problem all seem unleashed. Narasaki, followed by Skorodumov, Peharc, and Pelorson all send it first go. Only Coleman requires 4 attempts 4. So when it’s Chon’s turn everyone knows he has just one chance for victory: he needs to top out first go! And top out first go is exactly what he does. So South Korea’ Jongwon Chon is the first Juniors Boulder World Champion, thanks to his score of 4 tops in 6 attempts. France’s Nicolas Pelorson takes silver, split by just one attempt more than Chon, while bronze goes (with 3 tops in 3 attempts) to Slovenia’s Anze Peharc who beats Japan’s Tomoa Narasaki by the narrowest of margins – read one attempt less to reach a bonus zone. Yes, this comp really did go down to the wire!

by Vinicio Stefanello /

– Gallery 2015
– Video 2015
– Results 2015