SCHALCK TAKES GOLD; VAN DUYSEN CLAIMS BELGIUM'S FIRST EVER IFSC WORLD CUP MEDAL
France’s Mejdi Schalck took one of two French medals at the IFSC World Cup Hachioji 2023 as Belgian teenager Hannes Van Duysen made history with a first ever World Cup medal for the nation.
Schalck was appearing in his 11th IFSC World Cup and claimed his second gold medal at the Esforta Arena Hachioji.
The Frenchman took two finals tops, the only climber to do so, and finished ahead of history maker Van Duysen and teammate Paul Jenft who took bronze.
Talking of his win Schalck said: “I’m very happy with the gold as it’s been a big goal I have been training for over winter. I wanted to win a second medal to show myself I could do it.”
With compatriot Jenft on the podium, Schalck appreciates the strong training position they are in together: “We have trained together for about five or six years and the ‘rivalry’ pushes us on to the top. We push each other and it is a really good rivalry for the both of us.”
Despite the chance to make history, Van Duysen could have felt the weight of pressure on him, especially in only his fifth appearance at an IFSC World Cup, but instead he used the excitement to his advantage: “It’s the first time for Belgium to get a medal so that’s pretty cool. It’s amazing to be here and every round was incredible for me.
“I was excited to be in the semi-final and then I didn’t have any pressure, so I just climbed how I wanted to and made the final. Then to end up on the podium is very crazy.”
Only the second Belgian to make an IFSC Boulder World Cup final, Van Duysen reflected on a debut year in 2022 to focus and progress through the winter, and it paid off: “I competed in a few World Cups last year, but I made a lot of silly mistakes, so it didn’t go that well.
“My positioning, the slabs weren’t really that good, but my training during the winter went really well and I found a better way to move on the boulders and I think this was the key to break through in a senior event.”
France’s Paul Jenft produced a personal best result to take the bronze medal and join his training partner Schalck on the podium: “It’s a bit of a relief because all the finals I have done I always end up in fourth, so it’s really cool to make the podium after three finals and three fourth places.”
Joking about gold medallist Schalck, Jenft said: “I’m happy but I’m also frustrated because Mejdi always beats me. But he pushes me to be stronger because he’s my friend and we train really well together.”
Home nation climbers Fujii Kokoro finished fourth and debutant Anraku Sorato finished just behind in fifth. South Korea’s Chon Jongwon was sixth.
The IFSC World Cup will now move on to Seoul, South Korea from 28-30 April with the Boulder and Speed disciplines.
Full men's Boulder results can be found here
Men's Boulder podium at IFSC World Cup Hachioji 2023
Photo: Dimitris Tosidis/IFSC