LEONARDO’S MASTERPIECE IS WORTH A NEW SPEED WORLD RECORD, MIROSLAW GRABS WOMEN’S GOLD
The 2021 IFSC Speed World Cup season started in spectacular fashion in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, where in the span of a few hours, Indonesian climbers Veddriq Leonardo and Kiromal Katibin wrote a new page in the history book of Sport Climbing.
The first highlight of the day was signed by 20-year-old Katibin, who, in the very first race of the qualification round, pulverised the previous men’s Speed world record with the time of 5.258 seconds, while his teammate concluded in second position with 5.375 – also below the previous mark.
Finally, in tonight’s much-anticipated race for gold – after they both glided through the three elimination rounds – Leonardo (24) rocketed up the 15-metre wall, taking the lead at the very beginning and prevailing over his teammate with the time of 5.208 seconds – the fastest time ever.
“I’m very happy today for this gold medal and for breaking the world record,” said Leonardo right after the final. “It’s been amazing to compete alongside my teammate. We didn’t come here for the victory, we came her to break records.”
The bronze medal went to Poland’s Marcin Dzienski (28), who beat home favourite John Brosler (24) in a neck-and-neck race that saw the US-climber slip a few moves before stopping the clock. Dzienski’s final time was 5.842 seconds, while Brosler finished in fourth position with 6.891.
Another Polish athlete – 27-year-old Aleksandra Miroslaw – walked on the highest step of the women’s event podium, pocketing her fifth IFSC World Cup gold medal. The reigning Speed World Champion faced United States’ Emma Hunt (18) in the final duel, taking first place with 7.382 seconds against her rival’s 7.539.
Hunt’s silver medal is the first Speed World Cup medal ever won by the United States.
“To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect,” commented Miroslaw. “I come from an injury I suffered at last year’s European Championships. I made a small mistake in the final race and it stressed my a little bit, but I’m pretty happy and excited because I felt really fast, my finger felt good. To compete in front of this crowd is amazing.”
The women’s podium was completed by Japan’s 24-year-old Miho Nonaka, who pulled an unbelievable performance and won bronze with 8.958 seconds. Poland’s Patrycja Chudziak (23) placed fourth with the time of 10.401 seconds.
The IFSC World Cup in Salt Lake City will continue tomorrow with the men’s and women’s Boulder qualifications, respectively starting at 9:00 AM (UTC-6:00) and 4:00 PM. News and updates will be available on the IFSC website and on its social media profiles: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Veddriq Leonardo celebrates the new men's Speed world record at the IFSC World Cup in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
Photo: Daniel Gajda/IFSC