The annual Asian Championships took place this year on November 7th-11th in Kurayoshi, Japan, and athletes from Indonesia and Japan climbed to all but four spots on the Bouldering, Lead, Speed and Combined podiums.
Youth stars dominated in Bouldering finals on Friday. Five of the top six athletes were under 20 years old, including winners Futaba Ito and Meichi Narasaki of Japan. Ito edged compatriot Nanako Kura by top attempts and bested a stacked field of Japanese finalists which included Saki Kikuchi in 3rd place, IFSC World Cup Bouldering season champion Miho Nonaka and Akiyo Noguchi. Narasaki, the only finalist who completed four tops, also prevailed among IFSC World Cup standouts and joined teammate Keita Watabe and recent Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 finalist YuFei Pan of China on the men’s podium. Click here to watch highlights of Bouldering finals on OlympicChannel.com, which featured Ito in the Olympic Channel original series Going Olympic: Tokyo 2020.
Indonesian athletes equally impressed on the Speed wall the following day, occupying five of the top six spots like Japan did in Bouldering. The men’s big final was nearly too close to call, with Alfian Muhammad and Sabri Sabri slapping the finishing pad atop the 15-metre Speed climbing wall at the same moment. Muhammad gained the victory by three thousandths of a second on the fastest time of the round (5.833 seconds), and Aspar Jaelolo raced past Veddriq Leonardo in a close small final. Sari Agustina kept a steady pace throughout the women’s Speed final and beat YiLing Song of China in the final race. Aries Susanti Rahayu scored the fastest time of the round (7.816 seconds) but settled for 3rd place after committing a false start in the semi-final, and Iqomah Nurul placed 4th.
On the Lead wall, Jain Kim topped four routes in Kurayoshi and earned a victory for Korea. Noguchi fell just shy of the top in finals and completed tops in every other round, and Mei Kotake joined them on the women’s podium. Countback to semi-finals separated a three-way tie in the men’s Lead final. Kokoro Fujii’s top in semi-finals handed him the win, followed by Hidemasa Nishida and Tomoaki Takata. Click here to watch Kim rise to the top and the thrilling Speed finish in the Olympic Channel video highlights.
In the Combined finals on Sunday, Japan concluded the Asian Championships by placing five more athletes on the podium as in Lead and Bouldering. After nonstop Bouldering, Lead and Speed climbing between the six top men and women, Noguchi and Narasaki stood tallest and joined arms with Nonaka and Rei Sugimoto, Ito and Pan.