Report Boulder Female Semifinals

Ashima Shiraishi © Giulio Malfer

In the Female Under 16 the battle was just as intense. The “battle field” was the Lead Wall, on the boulders created at the base of the legendary Rock Master wall. And the girls didn’t waste a minute. Not even a second. Vita Lukan from Slovenia, only 11th in the qualifiers, climbed superbly and took the lead with 3 boulders in 5 attempts. She was followed into provisional 2nd place by teammateUrska Repusic; 3 tops but 5 more attempts than Lukan confirmed that Slovenia has a superb squad. In this heat things seemed fairly clear from the outset: while the first two problems required technique they were “doable”, while the key to unlocking the final was on problems 3 and 4. Elena Krasovskaia from Russia succeeded with 3 tops in 6 attempts, beating Repusic. America’s Brooke Raboutou confirmed her climbing DNA with 3 tops in 10 attempts and one zone more than Repusic. Italy’s Giorgia Tesio battled hard but after having sent the first two problems in 7 attempts (6 of which on #1) she failed to breach the overhangs on problems #3 and #4. In an all-out battle on problem #1 (sent on her 12th attempt) the other Italian, Laura Rogora, flashed problems #2 and above all fateful #3. Only to fail though on the 4th and final problem. Which, until then, had proved impossible for everyone. At the end of the day those 12 attempts on #1 would cost Rogora dearly, as it was these that excluded her from the Finals. She was beaten, due to fewer zone attempts, by Austria’s Eva Maria Hammelmüller, 7th and first excluded from the final, and above all by America’sNatalia Grossman who qualified last with 3 tops in 13 attempts. Talking about American’s and that seemingly impossible problem #4, there’s a final anecdote worth focusing on: 14-year old Ashima Shiraishi, winner of the qualifiers with full marks, with 4 out of 4 boulders. We’d mentioned her talent previously… well, today she seemed even greater. Ashima entered the arena and sent all four problems (including #4) first go. A perfect competition, without even pausing to blink. It’s clear that she, Ashima Shiraishi, is the one to beat tomorrow. The other 5 magnificent finalists will do their best: Slovenia’s Vita Lukan, Russia’s Elena Krasovskaia, America’s Brooke Raboutou, the other Slovenia Urska Repusic and the other (third) American Natalia Grossman. It promises to be a great final, almost a match USA vs Slovenia, with the odd one out: Russia. These too are… world news!


The start for the Under 18 Youth A female competitors is harder than ever before. In fact, by the half way stage no one has managed to solve any of the problems. So despite the tough battles the 4 problems lie in wait, patiently… for the first top. That comes at the hands of Russia’s Mariia Musienko who needs 5 attempts for #4. So when 14 athletes have climbed, she takes the provisional lead with 1 top in 5 attempts. Naturally all wait, and hope, to see the light and this shines down on #4: Veronika Simkova from the Czech Republic gets the send after a staggering 13 attempts. Japan’s Aika Tajima sends it second go, placing her provisional second ahead of  Musienko and Simkova. But there’s more. Boulder #4 yields to Slovenia’s Tjasa Slemensek in 3 attempts, to Russia’s Iuliia Panteleeva in 5 attempts and to Japan’s Momoka Kaneko in 8 attempts.  Hopes are high for the best of the best, and quid rightly so. Italy’s Asja Gollo finally sends #2, 3rd go, before flashing #4. Her ticket to paradise is a final score of 2 tops, 4 attempts. Superb! Next are is the American duo Margo Hayes and Grace McKeehan, and both set off supremely. Margo sends #2 5th go and then flashes #4, but her with 2 tops and 6 attempts she trails just behind Gollo. Just like Grace who, despite gracefully flashing #1, needs 5 attempts for #4. The end result? With 2 tops and 6 attempts she places behind the Italian and her teammate Hayes. Austria’s Johanna Färber (2 top in 11 attempts) trails, as does France’s Charlotte Andre with 1 lone flash on #4. At this point there is only one athlete who can “steal” first from Gollo. Namely Janja Garnbret, the Slovenian athlete who leads the provisional ranking and World Ranking, defending European Champion and climber who many consider a true leader of the pack. Well, this is Garnbret’s competition performance: #1 flash, #2 flash, #3 second go and, to finish in style, #4 sent 3rd go. As in the qualifiers, she’s the only athlete to send all 4 problems. What can we say? Supreme? In tomorrow’s final we’ll find out more. In the meantime Asja Gollo places second thanks to her great semifinal. What is certain is that tomorrow she’ll fight hard to win her place in paradise, together with the other four finalists: Margo Hayes (Usa), Grace McKeehan (Usa), Johanna Färber (Aut) and Charlotte Andre (Fra).

Miho Nonaka @ Giulio Malfer

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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