Please click here for the full medal table of IFSC Youth World Championships Innsbruck 2017.
Please click here to access the results of Combined finals.
The IFSC Youth World Championships take place every year and gather hundreds of the most elite sport climbing athletes between the ages of 14 and 19. This year, there were 1,172 athlete registrations across all categories - representing 50 countries and 5 continents – and climbing took place over 12 days on the brand-new walls of Kletterzentrum Innsbruck.
Despite rain in the early days of the event, a large crowd turned out for the Youth A Bouldering finals on Friday night. All male finalists topped M1 and M2, and the podium came down to the final problem. Mizuki Tajima of Japan flashed for third place, requiring one less attempt to complete his three tops than Petar Ivanov of Bulgaria. When Tajima’s teammate Keita Dohi topped as well to take the lead, Filip Schenk needed one final top to win. He duly did so, ending the evening with a perfect score of four flashes.
The female Youth A final was equally exciting. Luiza Emeleva jumped into an early lead with the only flash of F1, which most finalists topped. Ashima Shiraishi of the United States scored the sole top of F2, and only her teammate Brooke Raboutou also reached the bonus hold. All three athletes topped F3, and the podium again came down to the final problem. Emeleva and Raboutou secured spots on the podium with quick tops, and Laura Rogora of Italy flashed for fourth place. Last on the mats, Shiraishi topped alongside Schenk for two superb double flashes to end the round and earn the first gold medals in Innsbruck. Youth Bouldering champion since 2015, Shiraishi has yet to lose an IFSC youth event.
Johanna Holfeld of Germany and Russian Iuliia Panteleeva started strong in the Juniors finals the following day. Holfeld’s flash of F1 was enough to put her ahead of Panteleeva for third place on the podium. Maya Madere and Claire Buhrfeind from the USA were the only two women to claim two tops, solving the compression of F3 and precise moves of F4. Buhrfeind required less attempts then Madere for both problems, winning her the gold medal. Austrian Laura Stöckler finished the night with a top of the last problem in front of her home crowd.
The male final also opened with a challenging slab. A flash from Yoshiyuki Ogata of Japan put him in a fantastic position for the rest of the round. The physical M2 proved to be even more challenging than the slab, with only Ogata’s teammate Meichi Narasaki finding the top. After a difficult start, Austrian Jan-Luca Posch burst back onto the scene and took third place by flashing M3 and M4. Narasaki and Ogata also topped the two problems, with Ogata claiming his second youth title in Bouldering by attempts. American Kai Lightner also topped the final two problems to finish in fourth place.
The last medals in Bouldering were awarded in Youth B. Again, slab problems began the round. All the male finalists topped, and Thomas Podolan of Austria took an early lead with a quick ascent. Power moves on poor footholds stumped everyone on M2, and four athletes were tied at two tops apiece after solving the compression moves of M3. Podolan wasfirst to stick the beginning dyno of M4, but couldn’t mantle to the top hold and finished in sixth place. Rei Kawamata of Japan breezed through the dyno and flashed the problem to take the gold medal. Russian Semen Ovchinnikov and Kawamata’s teammate Ryoei Nukui also completed the problem to place second and third, respectively, by attempts. Hidemasa Nishida finished in fourth place, topping after time expired.
In the female final, Canadian Indiana Chapman flashed the opening slab. It was her only top and earned her fourth place, the best Bouldering finish ever for a Canadian athlete at the IFSC Youth World Championships. Futaba Ito of Japan took the lead with a flash of F2, a lead that she never gave up. Ito was the only finalist to stick the dyno beginning F3 and promptly continued to the top. She then powered past the steep features of F4 on her first attempt to make it a sweep of all four problems for the gold medal. Her teammate Natsuki Tanii also finished with a flash to place second, and Saki Kikuchi rounded out the podium to give Japan all three medals, bringing their medal count to nine.
After winning two medals in Bouldering, Russian athletes soared on the Speed wall Saturday and Sunday. Russia took the lead over the 50 nations competing in Innsbruck with 13 medals, four more than Japan.
Youth A provided the audience with the first action on Sunday, as nearly 200 climbers attacked the distinctive red route in the hopes of a podium. YiLing Song of China set the lowest time of the day for the female athletes (8.63), earning her a spot in the final run. Aleksandra Kalucka of Poland answered with her own personal best time of the day (8.67) to win Gold after a slip from Song midway up the route. Russian Polina Aksenova completed the podium when her compatriot Elena Remizova false started.
111 competitors started in the men’s final. All three medallists set times under seven seconds, with JinXin Li of China besting American Noah Bratschi in the small final. In the last match, Russian teammates Georgiy Morozov and Sergey Rukin swept up the wall, and Rukin’s smooth run of 6.53 seconds was enough to win the gold medal over Morozov.
The following day, Milosz Bujak of Poland was among the fastest in Youth B finals but slipped low down the route in the semi-final against Russian Anton Kulba. Italian Jacopo Stefani and Kulba both stumbled in the big final, and Stefani recovered faster to claim the gold medal. Evgeny Kuzin of Russia finished two hundredths of a second quicker than Bujak in a tight small final to round out the podium.
Russia dominated the female final, with only Russian athletes advancing to the semi-final. Polina Kulagina advanced over Valeriia Slobodchikova with a clean run, and Daria Potapova bested Kamilla Kushaeva in the rerun following a tie between the teammates. Kushaeva rebounded in the small final for Bronze, and Kulagina set the first time under nine seconds (8.84) to win gold over Potapova in the big final.
Elizaveta Ivanova of Russia was quick all day, registering the best time in qualifications (8.57) and more times below nine seconds in finals. She committed a costly false start in the final race against her teammate Daria Kan, who claimed the gold medal and scored the lowest time for female athletes in Innsbruck (8.34). Ekaterina Barashchuk made it an all-Russian podium after a slip from Claire Buhrfeind of the United States, who followed up her first place in Bouldering with fourth place in Speed.
The male final saw many upsets, with IFSC World Cup competitors Kostiantyn Pavlenko of Ukraine – who posted the best time in Innsbruck (6.37) - and Gian Luca Zodda of Italy missing out on the semi-final, as well as the quick Iranian athlete Ehsan Asrar. Carlos Granja of Ecuador and Korean Seungbeom Lee had no times above seven seconds, and Granja bested Lee in a very close big final for gold. American Michael Finn-Henry was also flawless in the small final, claiming the Bronze medal over Lev Rudatskiy of Russia.
13 male athletes joined 8 female athletes in the finals after six ties in semi-finals for the eighth spot. Two aesthetic lines with a diverse set of movements and holds challenged the young finalists. Saki Kikuchi of Japan set the first high point, falling between two slippery pinches early on the upper panel. Her teammate Futaba Ito, crowned Bouldering champion earlier this week, wowed the crowd by pushing through the crux section and just sticking the back-hand to the finishing hold for the first top. Camille Pouget of France matched Kikuchi’s mark, leaving two Japanese athletes to decide the podium. Natsuki Tanii looked undaunted by the pressure and calmly marched to the top to join Ito on the podium. Ai Mori, who set a commanding high point in semi-finals, duplicated the feat, skipping a move at the crux and keeping it together for the top and gold medal.
On the finals route for the male athletes, multiple finalists struggled to surpass a difficult crux sequence of open handholds and slippery screw-on footholds. Zander Waller of the United States was the first athlete to connect all the moves, falling at the tiny crimps before the top hold. Hidemasa Nishida of Japan fought the pump to attempt the dynamic last move. American Colin Duffy followed and looked confident the whole way, dangling from one arm low on the route and completing the concluding dyno for a medal and wild applause. That medal turned to gold when Alberto Ginés López of Spain peeled off the final hold. Ginés López finished in second place over Nishida by countback to semi-finals, setting a new bench mark for Spain at the IFSC Youth World Championships.
American and Japanese athletes continued to dominate in Youth A and Juniors. Youth A winner Shuta Tanaka of Japan was first to power past the steep mid-section of the male athletes’ route and stick the signature dyno before the upper panel. He put on a show for the Friday night crowd, waving for applause after the move. Runner-up Nathan Martin of France fell trying to complete the jump to the jug, leaving the final climb for Filip Schenk. Schenk’s feet spun off the wall midway up the route, and a strong fight from the young Italian was not enough for a spot on the podium. Mikel Asier Linacisoro Molina earned Spain a second medal in Lead climbing with a strong performance of his own.
On the finals route for the female athletes, beefy features at the middle of the route drained the energy out of the finalists, making the small undercling to start the upper panel even more challenging. Nolwenn Arc of France fell at the following move, and American Brooke Raboutou stormed into provisional first place after reaching the slopey penultimate hold. Bouldering champion Ashima Shiraishi ended the final by matching her teammate’s high point for gold, extending her winning streak at the IFSC Youth World Championships to a perfect six victories.
The Juniors final followed, bringing 12 male athletes and 8 female athletes up nearly the same lines, with a few modifications for the older climbers. Also, Bouldering champion, Claire Buhrfeind carried her rope to the same spot as her American teammates to stand atop the podium. Aika Tajima of Japan fell moving past the undercling for second place, and Heloïse Doumont of Belgium matched on the signature hold to round out the podium.
Taito Nakagami of Japan was first out on the finals route for the male athletes and fell two moves before the jump, which his compatriot Meichi Narasaki completed later on for second place. Kai Lightner of the United States fell just before the jump to take third place above Nakagami by one move. Last to climb, Bouldering champion Yoshiyuki Ogata pleased the crowd by rising past Narasaki’s high point for another Japan victory. The Lead climbing victories propelled Japan to first place in the medal table with 17 medals and the most gold (6), and the United States rose to second place in gold (5).
Youth B athletes started the Combined finals, racing up the Speed wall for a chance to stand on the last podiums in Innsbruck. Semen Ovchinnikov of Russia was fastest in the quarterfinal and semi-final. He faced-off against Ryoei Nukui of Japan in the last match, slipping early to give Nukui the provisional lead in the Combined. In the final for the six female finalists, Futaba Ito and Natsuki Tanii of Japan matched each other step-for-step, with Tanii earning the victory by fractions of a second.
There were only tops in the Bouldering final for male athletes. Rei Kawamata of Japan rose to provisional first in the Combined with a perfect score of four flashes, conquering massive features and the dynos of M4 on the first attempt. Ovchinnikov required only one more attempt for his four tops to place second. The final for the female athletes started with a run-and-jump which every finalist completed. A steep F2 and the bolt-hole clusters of F3 troubled a couple athletes, but not Ai Mori of Japan. She was the only climber to flash every problem, including a grueling F4 with powerful roof moves. Tanii placed second by attempts for the provisional lead in the Combined.
On the Lead wall, Hidemasa Nishida set an unmatched high point to finish third in the Combined. Kawamata fell lowest but placed second with his Bouldering victory and Speed score, and Ovchinnikov became the first Combined champion in Innsbruck by scoring well across all three disciplines. Ito, Mori and Tanii closed out the Youth B action. Ito fought the pump to within a few moves from the top for third place, Mori impressed with the first top for second, and Tanii concluded the round with a final top to surpass Mori in the Combined rankings.
The nonstop action on Saturday continued with the Combined finals in Juniors. American Kai Lightner squeezed past Kai Harada of Japan by five hundredths of a second in a quick small final. Yoshiyuki Ogata got off to a good start in the big final but his Japanese teammate Meichi Narasaki, the only finalist to climb below eight seconds, finished strong to place first. Claire Buhrfeind, one of the Speed favorites, fell in the female quarterfinal against Aika Tajima of Japan. Tajima was bested in the small final by Laura Stöckler, racing in front of her home crowd. Her compatriot Franziska Sterrer slipped against Speed standout Iuliia Panteleeva of Russia in the big final. Panteleeva had been fast throughout the round and secured an early lead in the Combined.
Narasaki and Ogata matched their superb Speed results in Bouldering as the only finalists to top the first three problems, with Narasaki placing first by attempts. Harada and Lightner couldn’t solve the slab of M1 but maintained strong positioning in the Combined after cruising past the powerful and dynamic moves of M2 and M3. The first problem proved the difference maker for the female finalists when everyone solved the jump start of F3 and failed to top F2 and F4. Stöckler flashed the tenuous slab problem and placed first, followed by Panteleeva who solved the concluding match perfectly but found one less bonus hold. Margo Hayes of the United States also topped and finished in third place by attempts.
Lead climbing under the lights concluded the first day of Combined finals in Innsbruck. William Bosi of Great Britain fought to a high point which stood for most of the round. Ogata later surpassed Bosi’s mark, leaving a small margin of error for Narasaki. First in Bouldering and Speed, Narasaki needed fourth or better to win the Combined. He did exactly that, battling fatigue after a week of intensive sport climbing for the victory. For the female athletes, Buhrfeind set a formidable mark, but Stöckler stuck the crux dyno and continued onward for the Combined victory in front of a roaring home crowd.
In Youth A, the top 20 male athletes and top 20 female athletes at IFSC Youth World Championships Innsbruck advanced to Combined finals, a major qualification event for Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018. 13 Youth A athletes qualified for selection to these Games, in accordance with the rules listed in the qualification system, to be announced after the confirmation from the National Olympic Committees.
Speed finals took place on Saturday and results were determined by time, with two heats per athlete. Georgiy Morozov of Russia was the fastest male athlete, posting the only time below seven seconds (6.92). French star Sam Avezou joined the handful of athletes scaling the 15-meter Speed wall within 8 seconds, a group that also included Cristian Dorigatti of Italy and Chinese teammates DiChong Huang and YuFei Pan. Among female athletes, their compatriot YiLing Song registered the lowest time (9.05). Aleksandra Kalucka of Poland and Russian teammates Elena Krasovskaia and Luiza Emeleva also stopped the timer in under than ten seconds.
The Combined finals concluded Sunday with the next rounds in Bouldering and Lead. Most finalists flashed the first problem, leaving the remaining three problems to determine the results. Half of the athletes maintained friction on the volumes of M2 to the top, including Nathan Martin of France and Filip Schenk of Italy. Both athletes continued their streak of flashes on the next problems, sticking the one-handed dyno of M3 and keeping their composure on the walk across M4 for a perfect scorecard. Martin maintained an edge in the Combined with a better Speed performance. For the female athletes, again almost every athlete topped the first problem and multiple finalists fought past the ladder of blocks on F2. Brooke Raboutou and Ashima Shiraishi of the United States joined three other stars at three tops after flashing the following power problem. Only Austrian Sandra Lettner topped all four problems, showing a diverse set of strength and technique on the last problem to take the lead in the Combined. Valentina Aguado of Argentina was the only other athlete to top F4 and placed second in Bouldering.
The towering Lead wall in Innsbruck was the final challenge for the best Youth A sport climbing athletes in the world. Shuta Tanaka of Japan set a high point on the burly last route which no finalist could match, finishing sixth in the Combined results. Avezou marched to within a few holds of Tanaka’s mark, taking the provisional lead in the Combined. When Keita Dohi of Japan fell short, Schenk needed second place or better to win the Combined. He climbed strong to equal Avezou’s score, but a slower time (3.58 minutes compared to 3.20) bumped him down to third in Lead and second in the Combined, handing Avezou the crown. Petar Ivanov of Bulgaria rounded out the podium with quality performances in all three disciplines. All eyes were on Lettner in the female final. She maintained her lead in the Combined, falling just beneath the high point of her teammate Eva Maria Hammelmüller. Raboutou matched Lettner, but again time separated the athletes (4.04 minutes compared to 3.45) and secured the Combined victory for Lettner. Shiraishi closed the competition with one hand slipping off the top hold for first in Lead, second in Combined, and Raboutou rounded out the podium in third place.
IN THE MEDIA
Austria Climbing produced an information booklet for all attendees.