Japan has topped the IFSC World Cup team Bouldering ranking every year since 2014, and they are on track to repeat the feat in 2018. Altogether, 38 Japanese athletes are registered to compete in front of their home crowd in Hachioji. Akiyo Noguchi and Miho Nonaka are the only athletes this season to stand on the podium at every Bouldering event. They won three of four competitions so far, and Noguchi swept both sets of the China Tour this month. Another victory from either star at the Esforta Arena Hachioji on Sunday will secure a spot on the Bouldering season podium.
Among the men, Kokoro Fujii and Tomoa Narasaki both stood atop a podium this year and rank among the top five Bouldering athletes, alongside Rei Sugimoto. Also on the start list for Hachioji is Combined youth world champion Meichi Narasaki, Yoshiyuki Ogata and Keita Watabe, who all won medals in Hachioji and Vail in 2017.
For over a decade, Vail has welcomed the most elite Bouldering athletes to Colorado. This year, the eleventh IFSC World Cup in Vail marks the penultimate event of the 2018 Bouldering season. In addition to Japan, also keep an eye on Slovenia in Vail. If Jernej Kruder excels in Hachioji, he will have the chance to clinch a place on the Bouldering season podium the following week. His teammates Gregor Vezonik, who twice joined him on the Bouldering podium this year, and Katja Kadic, who competed in finals in Vail in 2017, are also on the start lists for Hachioji and Vail.
From the United States, 40 athletes will climb on their home stage in Vail. Expect former Vail winner and 2017 finalist Alex Puccio to standout again, as well as PanAmerican youth Bouldering champion Brooke Raboutou, who placed 9th in 2017. Former Vail medallist Nathaniel Coleman and Sean Bailey, 11th in Vail last year, are also set to compete. The full list of starting athletes, schedules, 2017 replays and photos can be found on the Vail and Hachioji event pages on the IFSC website.
Japan and China each have two Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 qualified athletes on the start list for Hachioji. Asian youth Bouldering champions Keita Dohi (JPN) and Mao Nakamura (JPN) will compete in both Hachioji and Vail. Dohi continues to improve at IFSC World Cup events and just missed semi-finals last time in Tai’an, and Nakamura returns after twice making semi-finals. Asian youth Combined champion YuFei Pan (CHN) will compete in both events as well, and keep an eye in Vail on Galo Hernandez of Ecuador, competing in his first IFSC Bouldering World Cup, and Hannah Meul of Germany, competing in her 2nd event of the season.
Tune-in to the IFSC homepage on June 3rd and 9th to watch the live streaming of semi-final and final rounds:
Join the chat on Twitter during the show at #IFSCwc.