Time to Climb
This week not only marks the start of the IFSC Climbing World Championships Hachioji 2019 but the first official Olympic qualifying event in the history of Sport Climbing. Over 253 athletes from 39 different countries are registered to compete in the 12-day event that will include lead, bouldering, speed and combined.
Bouldering: Garnbret Seeks Another Win
The IFSC Bouldering World Cup season might have concluded in June, but the climbers are back at it again for the World Championship title. After sweeping the world cup circuit, all eyes will be on Janja GARNBRET (SLO) to see if she can defend her title from Innsbruck and continue her winning streak. Both Akiyo NOGUCHI (JPN) and Fanny GIBERT (FRA) are expected to compete to try to take the title from her. This will be the first World Championship event for the surprise winner of the Vail World Cup, Yoshiyuki OGATA (JPN). The Bouldering World Championship will also set up a rematch between Adam ONDRA (CZE) and Tomoa NARASAKI (JPN) after their close battle for the 2019 Bouldering Overall Season title.
Lead: Reigning Champions vs. Stiff Competition
Austria claimed both Lead gold medals at last year’s World Championship and Jessica PILZ and Jakob SCHUBERT are back once again to take on the lead wall. While there have only been three world cup events so far this season, Chaehyun SEO (KOR) is beginning to stand out from the pack with two back-to-back gold medals and a win against GARNBRET, she is a strong contender for the women’s Lead title. ONDRA and this Lead Season’s frontrunner Alexander MEGOS (GER) are expected put the pressure on SCHUBERT for the coveted first place position on the podium in Hachioji after both finished in second and third place respectively in 2018.
Speed: Rematches and World Records
The Speed World Cup series has featured several different winners and a tight race in the overall rankings. Last year’s podium finishers are back for another chance at a medal, while this season’s top athletes seek to take their place. Innsbruck gold medalist and current men’s world record holder, Reza ALIPOURSHENAZANDIFAR (IRI) is up against the current overall leader for the season, Bassa MAWEM (FRA). Russia’s Vladislav DEULIN and Dmitrii TIMOFEEV are also registered to compete. New women’s world record holder, YiLing SONG (CHN) is participating in her first World Championship and seems to be the one to beat this year. Will a new world record be set in Hachioji?
Combined: The Climb to Tokyo Starts Here
History will be made at this year’s World Championships as the top Sport Climbing athletes go toe-to-toe in the first Olympic qualifying event. The best 20 climbers out of the 172 competing in Bouldering, Lead and Speed will fight in the Combined during the final three days of the World Championships. Seven of the highest placed athletes per gender, with a maximum of 2 per country will qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games. As Team Japan continues to dominate the rankings this year, the question of who will represent the host country at the Olympics is about to be determined. Both NARASAKI and NOGUCHI had strong Bouldering seasons and competed in the Lead Finals in Villars, while Miho NONAKA qualified for the Villars Speed Finals. Kai HARADA and Kokoro FUJII are also strong contenders for the men’s combined, finishing in fourth and sixth in last year’s Combined event in Innsbruck, respectively.
Live Stream & Replays
Finals and semi-finals in all disciplines will be streamed on the IFSC homepage and the IFSC YouTube channel. Chat with us on Twitter during the event using the #IFSCwch hashtag. For the complete schedule of events, list of starters and live streams, visit the official IFSC Climbing World Championship webpage. For replays and highlights from last year’s competition in Innsbruck, visit the dedicated IFSC event page.