Thursday, 16 August 2018 21:35

Stage Set for Bouldering Showdown

Bouldering season leaders Jernej Kruder (SLO) and Miho Nonaka (JPN) will contest with Tomoa Narasaki (JPN) and Akiyo Noguchi (JPN) for the men and women’s Bouldering season titles August 17th-18th in Munich, Germany, the 7th and final IFSC Bouldering World Cup of the 2018 season.

Munich is a fixture in the Bouldering series, regularly hosting the final event of the season. This year, 231 athletes from 37 countries are registered to compete for their final chance to gain ground in the Bouldering season rankings. The stage is set for a showdown between the best Bouldering athletes in the world.

Nonaka finished within the top five Bouldering athletes in the women’s season ranking the past five years, and this year her first title is as close as ever. Nonaka has already matched her best finish ever, but one athlete could bump her down to 2nd place and take the title away. Bouldering legend and 4-time season champion Noguchi has won three times in 2018, and she needs to place 2nd or 1st in Munich and ahead of Nonaka to overtake her compatriot since the worst score is dropped in the final calculation for athletes competing in all seven events. Slovenian Janja Garnbret could make that result more difficult to achieve, since she has yet to finish worse than 2nd this season. Fanny Gibert of France is also on the start list and will clinch 3rd place by making the podium in Munich or if Stasa Gejo (SRB) doesn’t win. Be sure to keep an eye on Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 (YOG) qualified athlete Hannah Meul as well, who placed 10th in Vail and will be climbing in front of her home crowd.

The face-off for the men’s title is equally tight. Kruder won his first IFSC World Cup to start the season in Meiringen and has made three podiums, scoring within the top eight athletes at every event. Only 2016 Bouldering season and world champion Narasaki has stood on more Bouldering podiums in 2018 (4), and he bested Kruder for the final podium spot in Vail. Narasaki will need to place 9th or better and ahead of Kruder in Munich to retake the title. The final spot on the Bouldering season podium is less decided for the men. Rei Sugimoto (JPN), winner in Vail, can clinch 3rd place by finishing 1st or 2nd in Munich. Reigning season champion Jongwon Chon (KOR) and ‘16-‘17 bronze medallist Aleksei Rubtsov (RUS) will try to stop him.

Winners of the Bouldering team ranking since 2014, Japanese athletes have amassed 2269 points this season and are poised for another title. Slovenia, 3rd last year, has already increased their total in 2018 (1107) and will look to hold off France in Munich for 2nd place. Currently ranked 7th, 25 registered German athletes could improve their positioning in the final ranking.

Semi-finals and finals of IFSC World Cup Munich 2018 will be live streamed on the IFSC homepage Saturday 18th August at 12:00 and 18:20 GMT+2, respectively. Fans in the United States can watch the Olympic Channel live streaming on the IFSC website here and at OlympicChannel.com here. The schedule, starters, 2017 highlights and more can be found on the Munich event page, and chat on Twitter during the show at #IFSCwc.

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