21 women athletes from 15 countries took to the climbing walls in the Urban Park venue today, beginning the Sport Climbing competition. Athletes climbed in the order of Speed, Bouldering and then Lead and were ranked by the combination of their results, with only the top 6 athletes advancing to finals.
The first Youth Olympians of Sport Climbing twice raced side-by-side on the two-lane, 15-metre Speed wall, their top time counting. Seven game changers clocked times under ten seconds, including twin sisters Aleksandra and Natalia Kalucka of Poland. After a fall on her first run, A. Kalucka found redemption on the second run by racing to the top of the scoreboard (8.10 seconds), and N. Kalucka placed just behind her (8.31 seconds), the only athletes to stop the timer in under nine seconds. South American athletes Alejandra Contreras (CHI) and Argentina’s Valentina Aguado performed well in Speed, finishing in under ten seconds too. Elena Krasovskaia (RUS) (the youngest Combined world champion ever) and Laura Lammer (AUT) placed ahead of them, and their teammates Luiza Emeleva (RUS) and Sandra Lettner (AUT) also posted fast times.
The pace changed on the Bouldering wall later in the morning, testing Sport Climbing’s game changers in a new fashion. Athletes worked through four sets of challenging moves (problems) to reach the top hold, ranked first by tops completed, then zone points completed (points assigned to a difficult-to-reach hold on each problem), followed by the number of attempts required to obtain the tops, and finally number of attempts to score the zone points. Balance and technique were required to complete the opening slab problem (W1) as athletes tip-toed across slippery volumes, with only tiny hand holds for support. Many of the first climbers struggled to transition from the zone point to the top hold but not Mao Nakamura of Japan, who completed the first problem and the three remaining ones to take an early lead. Smart and strong climbing carried the athletes across the heel-hook, barn-door swing and shoulder press on W2, and Emeleva and Meul also connected all the moves. More athletes joined the hunt with tops of the dynamic W3, including Vita Lukan of Slovenia and Aguado, cheered on by her home crowd. Several athletes excelled on W4, curling their fingers over tiny crimps screwed on to blank volumes, their only help to the top. With their triumphs in Bouldering and Speed, Nakamura and A. Kalucka led the way in the Combined ranking before the Lead climbing.
The women’s Combined qualification concluded on the towering Lead wall as the youth stars soared into the sky beside the skyscrapers of Buenos Aires. The goal in Lead is to climb as high as possible, with time breaking ties. A sustained route tested the athletes’ endurance and their ability to conserve energy through precise movements and well-executed rests. Nolwenn Arc of France kicked-off the high climbing, finding heel hooks to shake-out and fight the pump within a few holds from the top hold. Lukan later matched Arc’s mark and moved ahead with a faster time, a lead which stood until the last athlete. Lettner closed the round with a nearly flawless climb, grabbing one more hold than Arc and Lukan to top the results in Lead.
Lettner, Lukan, Krasovskaia, Nakamura, Meul and Lammer all advanced to the women’s Combined final on Tuesday, October 9th. Results and replays can be found on the Buenos Aires event page, and tune-in for the LIVE streaming of the men’s Combined qualification tomorrow on the IFSC homepage, starting at 9:00 GMT-3 (local time).