Akiyo Noguchi won her third consecutive IFSC Bouldering World Cup and Japan claimed four medals in total this weekend in Hachioji, Japan, the fifth Bouldering event of 2018. Gabriele Moroni won his first IFSC World Cup in the last moments, and Ekaterina Kipriianova stood on her first IFSC World Cup podium.
First in the team Bouldering rankings, Japan continued to excel at home in Hachioji, sending eleven athletes to semi-finals and six athletes to finals. Fresh off two victories in May in China, Akiyo Noguchi topped every problem in her qualification group and completed all four boulders on her first attempt in semi-finals. The four-time Bouldering season champion also flashed the first problem in finals, sticking the opening W1 dyno under the lights of the Esforta Arena Hachioji to take a lead she would never give up. Her first fall since the second qualifying problem came on W2 at the challenging outstretched move to score the zone point. Noguchi and her compatriot Miho Nonaka eventually found the solution, as well as Ekaterina Kipriianova of Russia.
When W3 bested the six female finalists, the podium placements came down to the fourth and final problem, a series of half-moon volumes requiring technique and strength. Kipriianova fell just short of the zone point for third place and her first IFSC World Cup medal, and Nonaka put the pressure on Noguchi by flashing W4. Last to climb, Noguchi ended the women’s Bouldering final with a ninth flash to win her 21st IFSC World Cup and take the lead in the Bouldering season rankings. Two events remain, and Noguchi and Nonaka have already secured spots on the season podium.
In the men’s final, every finalist struggled on the precarious moves of the opening slab problem except Gabriele Moroni of Italy. Moroni made the first moves on M1 look easy and lunged for the top hold and an early lead. Jongwon Chon (KOR) joined Moroni at the top of the leaderboard after M2, powering past compression moves on a steep section of the wall. Rei Sugimoto jumped into the mix on a powerful M3, completing the sole top in four attempts with 10 seconds remaining. Sugimoto and Chon could not solve the concluding problem, leaving the door open for Tomoa Narasaki (JPN) who took the lead with a crowd-pleasing flash of M4. Last on the wall, Moroni scored the zone point and continued for his second top of the night to win his first IFSC World Cup since he began competing in 2004. Sugimoto scored the zone point for Japan’s fourth medal.
Among Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 qualified athletes, Keita Dohi and Mao Nakamura of Japan performed best, finishing among the top 40 athletes and each topping two qualification problems. DiChong Huang and YuFei Pan of China also competed.
The complete results, highlights, replays and photos can be found on the Hachioji event page.