RECORDS TUMBLE FOR GOLDEN LEONARDO AND MIROSLAW
The IFSC World Cup Seoul 2023 produced a fast and frantic beginning to the 2023 season for the Speed athletes as records came crashing down.
Indonesia’s Veddriq Leonardo and Poland’s Aleksandra Miroslaw claimed gold medals, but that was only half the story as Miroslaw lowered her previous world record four times, and Leonardo broke the five second barrier not once, but three times, with two of them world records.
In qualification Leonardo showed his intent, and what looks to be a great winter’s training, by posting a sub-5 to be the one to beat in the finals. His 4.98 world record that he took from teammate Kiromal Katibin was just the beginning.
Calming the nerves with a first finals round win, Leonardo stepped on the gas with a 4.90 in the quarter-final. A 4.93 followed in the semi-finals with sub-5 now becoming a habit.
In the final, a 5.01 was enough to beat China’s Long Jinbao and claim a gold medal to accompany his world record. Jinbao clocked a 5.12 in the final match up and with it a silver medal.
Leonardo said: “I’m super happy tonight. To take 4.98 and be the first man to go under five, and then to win a gold is just incredible for the first event of the new season.”
China’s Wang Xinshang took bronze on his World Cup debut beating compatriot Long Jianguo in the small final. A quick introduction to the World Cup arena for the newcomer, but an arena that he looks at home in already.
IFSC World Cup Seoul 2023 was the first time all athletes making it through to the finals had to go under 5.50, which was around world record time in 2017. So fast was the competition that USA’s Sam Watson broke the Pan American record with a 5.02 and Italy’s Matteo Zurloni broke the European record with 5.23.
Full men's Speed results can be found here
Men's Speed podium at IFSC World Cup Seoul 2023
Photo: Dimitris Tosidis/IFSC
In the women’s competition Aleksandra Miroslaw was just too hot to handle for the rest of the field and took gold with a near perfect performance.
Coming into the competition as the world record holder with 6.53 under her belt, Miroslaw broke her record twice in two qualification runs – a 6.37 and a 6.46.
In the semi-finals the bar was lowered again to 6.35, but the Polish climber was not done yet. A final race 6.25 secured gold and an even newer world record.
Miroslaw said: “I feel really happy. 6.25. Wow. I wished for this time, and I aimed for it this season and I’m happy I’ve made it in this competition.
“I’m really happy for all the girls in this competition, it was really fast. I’m really happy this sport is developing, but now I know they are all coming for me.”
There was a Polish 1-2 as Natalia Kalucka claimed silver with her final round 6.67 being beaten by teammate and record holder, Miroslaw.
Made Rita Kusuma Dewi Desak from Indonesia took bronze beating Poland’s Aleksandra Kalucka in the small final and denying the Polish team another podium lock-out.
Just like the men, there was a new finals qualification benchmark with the athletes needing under a 7.5 to be in with a shot at a medal.
USA’s Emma Hunt also joined her compatriot Watson with a new Pan American record, which is now Hunt’s at 6.82.
Full women's Speed results can be found here
The action continues at the IFSC World Cup Seoul 2023 tomorrow (29 April) at 09:00 (UTC+9:00) with the men’s Boulder qualification, followed by the women’s Boulder qualification.
News and updates about the events will be available on the IFSC website, and on the Federation’s digital channels: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and specifically for the Chinese audience, Douyin and Weibo.
Women's Speed podium at IFSC World Cup Seoul 2023
Photo: Dimitris Tosidis/IFSC