Report Lead Male Final

Sam Avezou © Giulio Malfer

Final male youth B lead
When Pietro Biagini took the stage the rain was long gone. Japan’s Katsura Konishi, Spain’sMikel Asier Linacisoro Molina and the French duo Léo Ferrera and Pierre Le Cerf had all climbed already. All (apart from Le Cerf) had all managed to reach the start of the large roof on the right. Ferrera had been the best of this group. But Biagini made it clear he meant business: he clearly didn’t want to give up easily on this route which evidently was demanding right from the outset. The Italian was so resolute that he climbed a few holds higher that the Frenchman to take provisional lead. But then it was time for his teammate, Filip Schenk, provisional third after the Semis and recently crowned Youth B Boudler World Champion. Schenk climbed well, past Spaniard Linacisoro Molina but then fell just before Ferrera. Today’s route was one of those that “sucked” away all the energy, a hallmark of this ultra-overhanging (and devastating) Rock Master wall. The third Frenchman Sam Avezou (2nd after the Semis) suddenly shifted down a gear and, slowly but surely, climbed past everyone, including Pietro Biagini. This was to be his day because he made important headway, to within the large roof, close to the lip. Belgium’s Harold Peeters, the best in the Semis, had the honor of finishing off the competition. But his efforts were to no avail, his battle to bitter end below the roof ended two holds beneath Sam Avezou, the new Lead Youth B – Under 16 World Champion. Belgium’s Harold Peeters finished second, while Italy’s Pietro Biagini placed a deserved third. His teammate Filip Schenk placed 5th.

Stefano Carnati © Giulio Malfer

Final male youth A Lead
For the penultimate World Championship title the sky above Arco looked gloomy once again. The time had come for the male Youth A – Under 18 category. The audience, enchanted, was on special occasion form. On Rock Master form. And even the route, that ascended the arete up the large overhanging tower on the left, seemed to be set for the occasion. And superb rocket-like route that had (as was immediately apparent) a mid-height filter up the tinniest of holds on the huge round red volume. Fingers of steel and total control were needed. Proof of this came from the first 4 pretenders to the throne that all dropped off at this point. Korea’s Minyoung Lee fell while moving towards the red volume. Italy’s Stefano Carnati fared better, climbed 2 holds higher. Much better as it soon turned out, as Russia’s Vladislav Shevchenko and Japan’s Taito Nakagami fell off the same point, a hold below Lee. America’s Kai Lightner surprisingly fell a hair’s breadth from Shevchenko. So, with only three athletes remaining, Stefano Carnati was provisional first and, at worst, fourth . One thing was certain: the route was hard as nails. Further confirmation came immediately, from Japan’s Yoshiyuki Ogata who took a low tumble, around Lightner’s highpoint. France’s Hugo Parmentier was next out. The penultimate athlete, hence second in the semis, climbed well, fought hard and then there on that terrible red volume he fell, a whisker from the Italian. Carnati, incredibly, was still in the lead, had secured himself silver at least. Now Sascha Lehmann, the leader of the Semis, tied in below the wall. He climbed quickly, one hold after the next, launched up onto the red volume, poised to tackle the upper section. Every hold seemed a “sufferfest”, yet the Swissman matched Carnati’s highpoint, even managed to climb one hold higher still, and then fell. Thanks to that little hold Sascha Lehmann was crowned Youth A Lead World Champion. Stefano Carnati with his splendid comeback from 7th place in the semis won silver – the 10th medal for Italy. While France’s Hugo Parmentier, separated by the smallest of margins, won bronze. Fourth place, just one hold lower, went to Korea’s Minyoung Lee, ahead of Minyoung Le (Kor), Taito Nakagami (Jpn), Vladislav Shevchenko (Rus), Yoshiyuki Ogata (Jpn) and Kai Lightner (Usa). All, from the first to the last, were “compressed” into the space of just 4 holds. Talk about photo-finish!

Bernhard Röck © Giulio Malfer

Final male Juniors Lead
As night fell, at 17:40, the time came for the last act of the World Youth Championships in Arco. The last competition, the last world title still up for grabs. It was time for the Junior – Under 20 competition. It started to drizzle onto the Climbing Stadium and umbrellas were reopened. The route was a slightly modified version of that used in Youth A. The atmosphere was incredible, worthy of all big events! All were here to see who would solve the”biggest overhang” on the Rock Master wall, the one that winds its way u the huge, dizzying bow. And the start was quite simply superb. Thanks to America’s Jesse Grupper who, after breaching the first part of the bow with its small (and treacherous) roofs, reached the huge round volume. It was evidently a crux move but, without hesitating, he poised himself for the two-handed dyno onto another large volume that paved the way to the top. Grupper took his aim, crouched low and then flew high… Many a heart skipped a beat as he grabbed the holds, lost one of them for a second, held the wild swing and managed to get control again. And the up he climbed, ever upwards, all the way to the top. The crowd went wild! But Slovenia’s Anze Peharc was already in the arena and climbed well, stuck the dyno and then… got unravelled and fell. Belgium’s Simon Lorenzi climbed supremely, only to fall two holds from the top. Had Grupper’s ascent been a one in a lifetime? There was no time to stop and think since Austria’s Bernhard Röck was already half-way up the wall, shooting up like a rocket. Red volume, two-handed dyno, the successive crimps and then top, for him too! Which meant that thanks to countback, Röck now took provisional lead, pushing Grupper into second. Japan’s Tomoa Narasaki now took the stage: he climbed above the volume, but surprisingly failed on the dyno. Unlike Russia’s Sergei Bydtaev, who produced the magic only to fall a hold higher than Peharc, which meant that he was provisional third – like in the semis – with Röck in the lead ahead of Grupper. Two more athletes were still to come, if they wanted the podium, they’d have to top out. Or, at worst, get extremely close indeed. Japan’s Hada Yuki played his cards badly and drops from provisional second to penultimate, just behind Peharc. The rain now poured almost “torrential”,  and the time had come for the last athlete of all. The third Japanese, Keiichiro Korenaga; he had won the Semis, he was the one who seemed in the best shape of all. And he was the only one who, at this tage, could steal the title off Röck and Grupper’s silver. Korenaga’s battle took place up high, he climbed past Lorenzi and then, just when it looked as if he’d top out and win the World Championship, he fell. The result: Austria’s Bernhard Röck won the Lead Juniors. America’s Jesse Grupper, 8th after the semis, won a noteworthy silver, while Japan’s Keiichiro Korenaga took bronze ahead of Simon Lorenzi (Bel), Sergei Bydtaev (Rus), Anze Peharc (Slo), Hada Yuki (Jpn) eand Tomoa Narasaki. This is how the ninth and final day of these intense – but extremely exciting – Youth World Championships came to an end here in Arco. One thing was certain: here we witnessed the champion climbers of the future.

by Vinicio Stefanello /

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