In Chongqing, where last year Tomoa Narasaki and Coxsey had taken the win, the Japanese did not wait long to demonstrate that their effort in Meiringen (7 semifinalists and 4 finalists) was in no way a lucky punch - all ten (10!) Japanese men entered semifinals.
The "disappointed" from Meiringen, among them prominent names like Jakob Schubert, Tomoa Narasaki, Akiyo Noguchi and Anna Stöhr (all out in qualifiers two weeks ago) showed that they are back on track and had no trouble in qualifiers. Rustam Gelmanov and Sean McColl again missed semifinals, this time they were joined by Meiringen finalist Jernjey Kruder among others. In the women's qualifications, Janja Garnbret and Miho Nonaka managed perfect rounds with 5 Tops in 5 attempts.
Semi-finals were very hard for both men and women, with physical problems at the extreme end of the usual difficulty spectrum. The young Janja Garnbret wasn't fazed by that and almost repeated her qualifications performance with three flashes and one problem in two tries, which put her in first place by quite a margin. The evergreen Anna Stöhr made finals after being sick for about three weeks. The young Canadian Alannah Yip made finals for her first time ever in a World Cup, she is the first Canadian woman in history to make finals in an IFSC event. Akiyo Noguchi, Stasa Gejo and Shauna Coxsey joined them for the fight for first place.
Jongwon Chon, Tomoa Narasaki and Alexey Rubtsov, arguably the pre-season favourites in most people's books, all three made finals, joined by Manuel Cornu from France and the Japanese Kai Harada and Keita Watabe, who with two finals in two World Cups is the newcomer of this season.
The final showdown
Shauna Coxsey came out of the isolation zone with an umbrella, like a good English lady, as the commentator pointed out. It brought her no luck. Janja Garnbret was the only woman to top W1. The strength that she displayed throughout the weekend was nothing short of astonishing.
In the men's and the women's final it came down to the last problem. W2 and W3 saw several tops. M1 and M2 had been flashed by Rubtsov, Narasaki and Chon. The mighty Chon was the only competitor to do M3, which put him in an excellent position for the final showdown on M4. Rubtsov slipped on the last move of his first attempt, couldn't get back there, then with 30 seconds left, started up again, but ran out of time on his way to the top, matching the top hold at 4:02 min. He walked off the stage in utter disbelief. This put him in third place. Narasaki topped M4 and secured second place. (Edit: His top was later cancelled by the jury for not matching the correct top hold, but it did not change his ranking.) Both Jongwon Chon and Janja Garnbret walked onto the stage for the last boulder with victory in reach, but feeling Narasaki's and Coxsey's breath on their neck.
Janja did what was necessary and completed the problem. Chon flashed the problem but his top was not accepted by the judges who found that he had not matched the top hold (only the volume on which it was attached). He repeated the problem and matched correctly, securing the win.
All in all an exciting second World Cup that sees Rubtsov and Coxsey in the lead for the World Cup ranking as the circuit travels to Nanjing.
Speed World Record for Kaplina!
Yulia Kaplina took the first opportunity of the season to break her own World Record at the first Speed World Cup. The clock stopped at 7:46, 7 seconds below her previous best. Vladislav Deulin won the men's competition.
1. Jongwon Chon (KOR)
2. Tomoa Narasaki (JPN)
3. Alexey Rubtsov (RUS)
4. Keita Watabe (JPN)
5. Kai Harada (JPN)
6. Manuel Cornu (FRA)
1. Janja Garnbret (SLO)
2. Shauna Coxsey (GBR)
3. Akiyo Noguchi (JPN)
4. Anna Stöhr (AUT)
5. Alannah Yip (CAN)
6. Stasa Gejo (SRB)
1. Vladislav Deulin (RUS)
2. Stanislav Kokorin (RUS)
3. Danyil Boldyrev (UKR)
1. Iuliia Kaplina (RUS)
2. Mariia Krasavina (RUS)
3. Alla Marenych (UKR)
20.000 FREIWILLIGE ARBEITSSTUNDEN
500 KG CHALK
Climb. Come together. Celebrate!