The World Cup Returns to Japan to Crown Lead Season Champions
The busy World Cup season has finally reached its grand finale after months of following climbers across the globe.
This weekend, October 26 to 27, lead climbers will be gathering in Inzai, Japan for the last World Cup event of the season and the crowning of the new overall lead season champions. Not only is this the final chance for athletes to work their way up the season’s overall rankings, but it is also the last opportunity to earn an invitation tothe IFSC Combined Olympic Qualifier in Toulouse this November.
A Battle for Second
For the men, the overall season champion has already been determined. After another win in Xiamen, Adam ONDRA (CZE) has secured his spot on the final podium, however, he is not planning on attending the competition in Japan, instead choosing the rest and prepare for Toulouse.
The remaining two places on the overall podium are still up for grabs, with three athletes poised to battle it out to stake their claim on the silver and bronze medals. Kai HARADA (JPN)currently sits in second and has been steadily making his way up the lead rankings.He came close to winning his first lead gold medal last weekend in Xiamen, butback in his home country, the pressure will be on, can he keep up the momentum and finally take the gold?
Alberto GINÉS LÓPEZ has had a breakthrough year in both youth and senior events, regularly finding himself in finals. His third-place finish in Kranj propelled him up the overall lead season rankings to sit in a provisional third. Canadian Sean MCCOLL, who withdrew from finals in Xiamen due to possible injury, has also consistently found a spot inthe top eight at each event and has a chance to claim a spot on the overall podium if he decides to compete in Japan.
Slovenia vs. Japan
Korea’s Chaehyun SEO seems to have come out of nowhere to completely overtake the competition and win a total of four gold medals and one silver so far this season. As the athlete with the most wins in the women’s division, her hold on the coveted lead season champion title is undisputed. All that remains in Inzai is to determine who will be joining her on the podium.
After a groundbreaking Bouldering season, Janja GARNBRET’s(SLO)lead season may not have turned out how fans dreamed, but the climbing powerhouse still resides in second in the overall rankings and another appearance in finals should be enough to defend her position. Her compatriot, Lucka RAKOVECis right behind her after her own consistent appearance in finals throughout the season.
Japan’s Ai MORI will have the homefield advantage this weekend in Inzai and a spot on the final Lead World Cup podium of the year could earn her a podium place on the overall season podium to the delight of the host country and local crowd.
The IFSC World Cup Xiamen 2019 will be available to stream live on October 27 for both the semi-final and finals. Don’t forget to join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag, #IFSCwc.
The complete starter list, results and event schedule are available on the official event page on the IFSC website.
The complete rankings for the IFSC World Cup 2019 season can be found here.