MALE YOUTH B BOULDER
Male Youth B Semifinal got off to a lightening fast start and, in line with bouldering’s tradition, the comp proved ‘unpredictable’ to sat the least. China’s Dichong Huang, 20th after Friday’s qualifiers, got he ball rolling. He failed on #1, but then picked up the pieces and sent #2. David Piccolruaz, provisional 19th, strolled up #1 and then sent both #2 and #3. The Italian was evidently highly charged, determined like never before. In a word: magnificent! All that remained was the last problem, the red slab that had infuriated Huang who scored 2 tops in total. Was this going to be decisive problem? On his first attempt Piccolruaz exceeded himself, almost produced the miracle top but only just failed to stick the final hold. He tried, and tried again, but no go. The Italian concluded his run with ascore of 3 tops, 6 attempt. This wasimmediately bettered by Columbia’s Juan Diego Romero Salguedo with 3 tops and 5 attempts. They were followed by Belgium’s Lukas Franckaert (3 tops but two more attempts needed to reach the bonus) and Russia’s Nikolai Michurov (11 attempts, but the first to send the slab on boulder #4). At this point many believed that there would be a deluge of 3 tops. But it wasn’t to be. Apart from Japan’s Keita Dohi – who leapt to provisional 4th with 3 tops in 9 attempts – the standings remained “firm.” That is, until Matteo Manzoni took the centre stage. The Italian climbed determinedly, flashing #1 to place provisional 6th… the last for the final. Which meant that 4 tops, or 3 in less than 11 attempts, were needed to qualify for the final. At this point the crowd waited with baited breath for Filip Schenk, the Italian who had “won” the qualifications. And Schenk certainly didn’t wait to be asked twice: #1 second go, #2 flash, #3 second go… but then he was stumped by slab #4. This though was a minor detail as it was he who, by a hair’s breadth of just one attempt less for the bonus zone, qualified first for tomorrow’s Finals. He was followed by competition revelation Juan Diego Romero Salguedo. The third finalists, with a record-breaking catchup from 19th to 3rd, was the other Italian, David Piccolruaz. The lineup was completed by Lukas Franckaert from Belgium, Keita Dohi from Japan and Nikolai Michurov from Russia. Big disappointment for (excellent) Matteo Manzoni, the third Italian who with 3 tops in 11 attempts was first excluded from the finals, split by the smallest of margins: one attempt in a zone. One thing is certain: tomorrow’s final will be fireworks, and light up the (great and enthusiastic) spectators of these Youth World Championships.
MALE YOUTH A BOULDER
It’s 15:00 sharp. The sun continues to shine relentlessly onto the Arco Climbing Stadium. Time for the second session of these Bouldering Youth World Championships, for the Under 18 Youth A category. in this round the male athletes climb below the Lead Wall. It’s strange seeing the base of the Rock Master transofrmed into a boulder zone. Here, by now it’s common knowledge, the first two problems require great technique, all angles and contortions need to be exploited. This time the starting boulder has an enormous hemisphere, it seems like a gigantic “belly” that needs to be… hugged. It’s not easy, by no means “inviting”. So much so that no one manages to send it. Boulder #2 has a start the athletes won’t be forgetting in a hurry: a run from right to left, followed by a dyno towards the starting a hold, the gateway upwards. the last two problems overhang, steeply. And the first surprise comes early thanks to Poland’s Szymon Pecikiewicz who sends problems #2 and #3 second go, only to fail on the final hurdle. Arnaud Ansino from Belgium takes things one stage further, flashing #2, sending #3 fifth go to then steal the show by freeing #4 second go. A superb, somewhat unexpected performance from the Belgian, who suddenly leads the provisional ranking. At this point half the athletes have already competed and the “belly” on problem #1 remains an unsolved enigma. Until Aidan Roberts takes the stage. The Brit needs 5 attempts but succeeds in making the miracle: even the “belly” can be tamed. So when it’s time for the best to start bouldering, all the problems have been climbed at least once.
But it continues to be Aidan Roberts that the crowd focuses on: after #1 he sends #2 in five attempts, then battles hard, eventually unsuccessfully, on #3 and #4. With a final score of 2 tops he beats America’s Benjamin Hanna, Austria’s Florian Klingler and Poland’s Szymon Pecikiewicz. So it’s almost certain that 3 tops provide the safety cushion needed to qualify for the Final. France’s Jules Nicouleau Bourles can rest on that cushion as he leaps into provisional first with 3 tops, 6 attempts. He his followed by America’s Shawn Raboutou (brother of Brooke, the finalist in Youth B female) with 3 tops 7 attempts, by Japan’s Kai Harada (3 tops, 8 attempts) and Arnaud Ansion (3 tops, 10 attempts). In the meantime, Germany’s Max Prinz (4th in the qualifiers) starts making headway. He is the only athlete (apart from Aidan) to send #1, and he proceeds his run on #2 and #3, only to be bowled over by #4. His score of 3 tops in 13 attempts places him 5th overall.
Now the time has come for Japan’s Yoshiyuki Ogata, Switzerland’s Baptiste Ometz and France’s Hugo Parmentier, joint equal in provisional first place after yesterday’s qualifiers. Ogata fails on the first hurdle but then shifts down a gear to zoom through #2 and #3 first go. On the final hurdle a monumental battle and three attempts are needed for the send: he’s provisional first and definitely in tomorrow’s final. Strong and stubborn! Parmentier sends #1 (the “belly”, sent by only 3 athletes in total) after 5 attempts, only to fail on #2. He keeps it together though and sends #3 and #4 on his first and second go respectively. So in the end, after a supremely intense and uncertain battle to the bitter end, the following athletes qualify for the final: Yoshiyuki Ogata (Jpn), Jules Nicouleau Bourles (Fra), Shawn Raboutou (Usa), Kai Harada (Jpn), Hugo Parmentier (Fra) and Arnaud Ansion (Bel). If you consider that they qualified with 3 tops, and that the first 4 are split by just one attempt more, it’s a safe bet that tomorrow’s final will go right to the wire. And this, ladies and gentleman, is what bouldering is all about.
MALE JUNIOR BOULDER
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!
by Vinicio Stefanello / Planetmountain.com