After rain last year in the mountain village of Villars, Switzerland, the sun shone bright this weekend for the world’s best Sport Climbing athletes. It was the third Speed and first Lead events of the 2017 season, and familiar faces were smiling on the podiums at the end of each day.
The first finals in Speed on Friday started the excitement. Reza Alipourshenazandifar of Iran put on a show for the fans, following up his world record (5.48 seconds) at IFSC World Cup Nanjing with no times above 6 seconds. The frontrunner in the men’s Speed rankings gave a passionate celebration on the wall before descending to congratulate Speed legend Stanislav Kokorin, who joined Russian teammate Vladislav Deulin on the podium. Russia has won 4 medals at every Speed event this season, and they continued the streak at Villars.
For the women, Mariia Krasavina took Bronze and has consistently been among the decorated Russian athletes in 2017. The Gold-medal race featured two rivals from last season, Krasavina’s teammate Iuliia Kaplina and Anouck Jaubert. Both athletes clocked a rapid 7.59, forcing a second heat. Jaubert and Kaplina each slipped towards the top of the wall, but another misstep at the final move by Kaplina handed Jaubert the victory. It was the French star’s first win in 2017 and improves her positioning in the women’s Speed rankings.
The Lead finals on the second day again gave the crowd in Switzerland a thrilling show. Slovenian Domen Skofic set the bar high at the start, coolly working through the steep section of the Lead wall and collecting a few holds on the upper panel. Romain Desgranges changed the standard moments later, falling just two holds from the top. It was smart climbing from the veteran Frenchman, who at one point lowered himself to regroup with a rest and executed technical movements on the last section of the finals route. Ending the round was Fedir Samoilov of Ukraine, competing in his first IFSC World Cup final. No athlete found the top, but Samoilov followed up his inspiring semi-finals performance with another hard effort, edging German star Jan Hojer for Bronze due to countback.
More familiar faces from 2016 stepped onto the stage in the women’s final. Janja Garnbret, Mina Markovic and Anak Verhoeven separated themselves from the field as the only finalists to reach the last volume before the top. A slopey first hold on the volume kept Verhoeven at bay, while Garnbret and Markovic took a more static approach. Markovic smiled after sticking the move and continued on to slap the final hold. As so often last year, Garnbret shook-out where other athletes struggled and completed the lunge to the final hold, facing the crowd for a crowd-pleasing celebration. After setting the high point in semi-finals alongside veteran Jain Kim, 16-year-old Laura Rogora of Italy also competed in finals at the first IFSC World Cup of her career.
Friday 07th July
09:00-16:00 Lead Qualifications
17:00-19:00 Speed Qualifications
21:00 Speed Finals (LIVE)
22:00 Award Ceremony (LIVE)
Saturday 08th July
10:00-12:30 Lead Semi-Finals (LIVE)
20:00 Lead Finals (LIVE)
22:00 Award Ceremony (LIVE)