A Rewarding Start to the Youth World Championships

Underneath the towering lead walls in Arco, the young climbers participating in the IFSC Climbing Youth World Championships tackled the demanding routes and tough barrel overhangs to determine the first youth world champions of 2019.

Japan Clean Sweep and a Tight Finish

Team Japan overtook the podium in the Youth B men’s final taking all three podium places. The crux of the route was clearly defined at hold 44, with four athletes falling at that point, while one fell before reaching it. Haruki UEMURA (JPN) was the sixth climber out and with a solid jump to the adjacent wall, he was the first climber to top a route during the finals. His compatriot Junta SEKIGUCHI followed with another top to take first place and the youth world champion title. Satone YOSHIDA (JPN), who ended the semi-final round in first place as the only climber to top the route, was unable to secure the final hold and had to settle with third.

The Youth B women’s final saw no tops but that didn’t take away from the nail-biting finish. Hana KOIKE (JPN) was the fourth climber on the wall and set an early highpoint that she kept until the end. Bulgaria’s Aleksandra TOTKOVA smoothly campused over the lip to chase KOIKE’s highpoint but slipped a few moves shy of catching it. French athlete, Oriane BERTONE was the only one to reach the top during the semi-finals and it looked like she was going to do it again, but she fell off the wall around the same point as KOIKE to take a tentative win. After a long delay, the final results were released granting KOIKE a higher score of 42.5 and BERTONE a score of 42.5+ and the gold medal.

New Youth World Champions

The men’s Youth A competition featured several rising stars, including IFSC Lead World Cup Briançon 2019 gold medalist, Hidemasa NISHIDA (JPN) and IFSC Lead World Cup Chamonix 2019 finalist, Alberto GINÉS LÓPEZ (ESP). Two-time Youth World Champion, Colin DUFFY (USA) was seeking to turn his appearance in Arco into another gold medal, but after fatiguing on the barrel section of the route, he fell three moves from the top and had to settle with silver. NISHIDA was the only climber to come close to a top but was unsuccessful in his jump to the final hold, however, he still came away in first. GINÉS LÓPEZ was the last climber to attempt the route and was favored to win as the only athlete to top in the semi-finals. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to clear the famous Arco barrel and finished in third.

The middle of the women’s Youth A route appeared to be the most challenging part of the climb with only three climbers able to successfully move ahead. IFSC Boulder World Cup Vail 2019 finalist, Luce DOUADY (FRA) perfectly executed the jump move beyond hold 33 and after a short break began making her way up the rest of the wall before pumping out and claiming bronze. Both Natsumi HIRANO (JPN) and Nika POTAPOVA (UKR) made it within two moves of the final hold before dropping off to finish in second and third place respectively due to countback.

Lively End to Lead

Before the Junior men’s finals could begin, Italy’s Filip SCHENK withdrew from the competition due to a finger injury sustained during the semi-final round, leaving 7 climbers to battle for the youth world championship crown and a gold medal. Mikel Asier LINACISORO MOLINA (ESP) initially earned an early lead with a result of 45+, which was later bumped down to a 6 due to stepping on a bolt low. IFSC Lead World Cup Briançon 2019 bronze medalist, Shuta TANAKA (JPN) was the only climber to reach the top of the wall but was given a result of 48 due to running out of time, however, it was enough to take home the gold medal. His teammate Sohta AMAGASA finished in second, while France’s Alistair DUVAL placed third.

The Junior women shared the same route as the Youth A women but had more climbers who passed the previously determined crux. Newly qualified Olympic athlete, Brooke RABOUTOU (USA) put on a strong performance despite recently competing in the rigorous IFSC Climbing World Championships to place third. After 14 climbers had their turn on the wall and still no top, Nolwenn ARC’s (FRA) move to the final hold, with only 30 seconds left on the clock, was watched closely by the audience, unfortunately, her foot slipped before succeeding. The final climber was Italy’s Laura ROGORA who scaled the wall to excited cheers from her home crowd. She too made an attempt to the top and was also unable to secure it, however, her result was enough to seize the youth world champion crown and a gold medal.  

Complete results for the Lead Youth World Championships can be found on the Arco event page.

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