The 2nd edition of the China Open, now an International Climbing Series event, took place from November 16th to 18th in the familiar setting of Guangzhou, China. The unique event, designed by the CMA and IFSC, added some variations to the IFSC World Cup format and attracted season champions and world champions from around the globe. Three rounds of Bouldering, Lead and Speed were showcased – the 2nd round in Speed determined seeding among the 16 men and women finalists based on time – and top-ranked athletes and top Chinese athletes received a bye into the 2nd round (Full Rules).
Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 (YOG) medalist Vita Lukan (SLO) excelled in qualifications on Friday, joining Youth Olympians Keita Dohi (JPN) and YuFei Pan (CHN) in Bouldering semi-finals the following day. Pre-qualified athletes Janja Garnbret (SLO) and Jessica Pilz (AUT) stood out among a strong women’s field, the only athletes to top all four semi-final problems and two of the final problems. Pilz bested the Bouldering world champion by zone points, and 18-year-old Nanako Kura (JPN) joined them on the podium. Pan competed against multiple IFSC World Cup winners in the men’s final who scored two tops and four zone points. In the end, Yoshiyuki Ogata (JPN) earned the victory over Aleksei Rubtsov (RUS) by zone point attempts, and 2018 season champion Jernej Kruder (SLO) followed with one more top attempt.
China’s own QiXin Zhong (CHN) impressed on Saturday evening, edging Aspar Jaelolo (INA) on the Speed climbing wall by one tenth of a second in the big final. Dmitrii Timofeev registered the fastest time of the competition in the seeding round and capitalized on a fall from world champion Reza Alipourshenazandifar (IRI) in the small final. Aleksandra Rudzinska (POL) won every Speed competition in which she competed in 2018, including the China Open. The world champion frequently stopped the timer in under eight seconds and beat Mariia Krasavina (RUS) in the big final for her third victory this year. Iuliia Kaplina (RUS) registered the fastest time in the small final against Puji Lestari (INA) for 3rd place.
Lead climbing concluded the Sport Climbing action in Guangzhou on Sunday. Lead world champion Pilz rose highest in semi-finals and finals, closing the women’s competition with a final top and her second victory of the weekend. Slovenia also excelled on the Lead wall. Season champion Garnbret and Mina Markovic fell just short of Pilz’s high point for 2nd and 3rd place, and Domen Skofic ended the men’s competition with a top of his own to keep Hyunbin Min (KOR) and Hiroto Shimizu (JPN) at bay. Pilz and Skofic’s victories in Lead come three weeks after they finished the IFSC World Cup season on top in Xiamen, China.