Miho Nonaka (JPN) just missed the season Bouldering podium last year but has started strong in 2018, placing 1st and 2nd at the first two events in Meiringen and Moscow and completing every problem in Bouldering finals. With 2017 China winners Janja Garnbret (SLO) and Shauna Coxsey (GBR) off the start list, Nonaka can take a sizable lead in the season rankings this month. Japan teammate Akiyo Noguchi has yet to miss a podium in 2018 and ranks among the top athletes. Fanny Gibert (FRA) competed alongside them in both finals and will aim to win her first IFSC World Cup.
For the men, Jernej Kruder (SLO) and Tomoa Narasaki (JPN) made the podiums last year in China and return after trading first and second place in Meiringen and Moscow. Jongwon Chon, 2017 Chongqing winner and Bouldering season champion, is off the start list for Chongqing but is set to compete in Tai’an. Also be sure to follow the climbing of Aleksei Rubtsov (RUS), who has not missed a Bouldering final in 2018.
In Speed, Anouck Jaubert (FRA) returns to China after clinching the season title in Xiamen in October. Iuliia Kaplina (RUS) twice set the women’s Speed world record (7.32 seconds) during the first stage of the China Tour in 2017 and has not lost in Chongqing since 2015, but Jaubert matched her mark during the final run of Moscow finals and could lower the record this weekend. Also quick in Moscow was Aries Susanti Rahayu (INA), who scaled the 15-meter Speed wall in 7.39 seconds during her quarterfinal race in Moscow, as well as bronze medallist Elena Timofeeva of Russia.
Reza Alipourshenazandifar (IRI), The World Games Athlete of the Year who set the men’s Speed world record in Nanjing in 2017, began the 2018 season by recording four times under 6 seconds and winning a gold medal in Moscow. Not far behind him in the big final was Speed season champion Vladislav Deulin (RUS), who claimed two victories in China last year. From Indonesia, Veddriq Leonardo and Hinayah Muhammad faced-off in the small final in Moscow and will compete again in Chongqing. Also follow the climbing of their compatriot Aspar Jaelolo, who stopped the clock before 6 seconds in Moscow qualifications. The full list of starting athletes, schedules, 2017 replays and photos can be found on the Chongqing and Tai'an event pages on the IFSC website.
Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 qualified athletes DiChong Huang, YuFei Pan and YiLing Song of China will compete in front of their home crowds in Chongqing and Tai’an. Keita Dohi and teammate Mao Nakamura (JPN), who placed 15th in Meiringen, will join them on the Bouldering and Speed walls in China. Also keep an eye on Sarah Tetzlaff of New Zealand, competing in her first IFSC World Cup on Saturday.
Tune-in to the IFSC homepage on May 6th and 13th to watch the live streaming of semi-final and final rounds, and join the chat on Twitter during the show at #IFSCwc.