MORI AND ANRAKU GOLD’S HELP JAPAN DOMINATE WUJIANG WORLD CUP
Japan dominated the final IFSC World Cup podiums of the season taking five of the six medals on offer in Wujiang as Anraku Sorato and Mori Ai both claim Lead gold’s again for the nation.
The odds were in favour of the Asian country in the men’s Lead final with five of the eighth starters from Japan. Once again pushing the team forward was young gun Anraku who claimed his third Lead gold in a row after also winning in Briançon, France, and Koper, Slovenia.
Anraku couldn’t quite top the last route of the competition, but on hold 39+ was above all his rivals.
Anraku said: “I’m just happy to win another medal here in Wujiang. I’m frustrated not to top the route though. I have the Asian Games next week so I will try there. I love climbing and I don’t want to stop. I’m going to carry on forever.”
Omata Shion, like teammate Anraku is on his debut senior year, and helped show the strength and depth in the nation picking up a first World Cup medal by reaching hold 30+ in only his sixth World Cup outing.
Completing the podium lockout for Japan was Homma Taisei who took his sixth podium in lead by winning bronze on hold 26+, just edging out his teammate Ogata Yoshiyuki who just missed out on the podium on countback after also reaching hold 26+.
South Korea’s Song Yunchan was fifth overall on hold 24+, yet another Japanese climber in Yurikusa Ao was fifth on hold 23+, Sascha Lehmann of Switzerland was seventh on hold 23+ and Belgium’s Nicolas Collin completed the final list in eighth on hold 23. It was the Belgian’s personal best result and first Lead final.
Full men’s Lead results here
Photo: Dimitris Tosidis/IFSC
Although not quite as many as the men’s final, Japan still had four of the final women’s eight to compete for medals.
Mori, just like Anraku, again showed her Lead abilities taking gold on hold 36+ to become the most successful Japanese women’s Lead climber with three wins.
Mori said: “Before climbing I was very nervous, but now I’ve won I’m very happy. I feel a lot of pressure, mostly that I put on myself, I just don’t feel confident. But if I don’t have confidence in myself I can’t win, so I have to tell myself a lot I can do it.”
Austria’s Jessica Pilz was the only climber to break the Japanese domination by taking silver, the 20th IFSC Lead World Cup podium in her career and third in the 2023 season. Pilz reached hold 31+.
The fifth and final Japanese medallist was Tanii Natsuki who took the bronze with hold 26+ for her first podium of the season.
Zhang Yuetong narrowly missed out on a medal in front of her home crowd in China finishing just off the podium in fourth spot reaching hold 22+.
Japanese climbers Ito Futaba and Nonaka Miho were fifth and sixth respectively with Ito on hold 22 and Nonaka on hold 21+. South Korea’s Kim Jain, in yet another final, finished in seventh on hold 20+ with France’s Manon Hily in eighth on hold 17+.
Full women’s Lead results here
Photo: Dimitris Tosidis/IFSC
The final act of the 2023 IFSC World Cup series was to award the prizes for the Lead discipline.
Austria’s Jessica Pilz took the series title with 3235 points with two silver medals and a bronze helping towards her winning score.
Olympic champion Janja Garnbret was in second place on 3000 points. The Slovenian only competed in three events in the series but won all three to build her total.
Teammate Vita Lukan was third on 2725 points with a maiden gold in Briançon her best result of the year.
Full 2023 women’s series results here
Anraku Sorato had the overall title before Wujiang with an unassailable points difference to second. He scored 4300 points with the help of three wins in a row to finish the series and becoming the first men’s athlete to win both Boulder and Lead series titles, all in his first season in the senior competition.
Germany’s Alexander Megos was second on 2650 points winning a silver and bronze in the series.
Third place went to Homma Taisei with 2455 points – his third place in Wujiang pivotal in making the podium ahead of teammate Omata Shion in fourth ten points behind.
Full 2023 men’s series results here