NONAKA RETURNS TO THE TOP AS SCHALCK DOUBLES UP
Japan’s Nonaka Miho returned to the top step of the IFSC World Cup podium for the first time in five years while France’s Mejdi Schalck made it two from two in 2023 by taking gold in Seoul, South Korea.
With a slightly different format to the usual medal round thanks to some adverse weather yesterday, Miho and Schalck came through groups of 20 athletes rather than the usual six to claim their medals.
A rearranged schedule meant that the semi-final format was used to award the final ranking positions and the medals in Seoul. It also meant for Schalck that he first had to come through a morning qualification round before the men and women took to the wall in the evening.
For the Japanese athlete Miho, who had her qualification session the day before, topping two Boulders and three zones was enough to secure a first gold medal since the IFSC World Cup Meiringen in 2018 – a five-year gap in which she added an Olympic silver medal to her trophy cabinet.
Interviewed straight after her win on live TV, Miho said: “I’m so happy. I’m delighted to win this gold medal. I don’t know what to say. I’ve competed for so long and it’s been five years since I won at a Boulder World Cup. It feels crazy. I’m happy.”
The only other two athletes to top two of the four boulders were France’s Oriane Bertone, who took silver, and USA’s Brooke Raboutou, who added a bronze medal to her maiden World Cup gold in Hachioji last week.
Women's Boulder podium at IFSC World Cup Seoul 2023
Photo: Dimitris Tosidis/IFSC
While Miho had to wait five years for another World Cup gold, France’s Schalck only had to wait one week. Adding gold in Seoul to his gold in Hachioji means that he now has two first place finishes to start the 2023 season, not that he can believe it himself: “I think I don’t really realise what is happening. It’s just crazy. I just wanted to come here and do my best, climb and have fun. It’s crazy, I don’t think I realise actually what is happening.”
Narasaki Tomoa was disappointed to finish tenth in his native Japan last week, but he returned to medal winning ways with a silver in Seoul. Just like the women, all the medal winning men were the only ones to top two of the four boulders, only separated by zones and attempts.
The final medallist for the men was a big crowd favourite, South Korea’s Chon Jongwon. Every time he entered the arena, he got a cheer. The cheers grew even louder when he topped his two boulders and pounded his chest to an adoring crowd. And louder still as he took to the podium to collect his World Cup bronze.
IFSC World Cup Seoul 2023 will be remembered for a few things. Miho’s return to the top. Schalck’s double up. But also, the stunning Speed competition that saw multiple world records and wins for Poland’s Aleksandra Miroslaw and Indonesia’s Veddriq Leonardo who became the first Speed climber to break the five-second barrier.
The IFSC World Cup now moves on to Jakarta, Indonesia, from 6-7 May for another round of Speed – and with Leonardo on his home turf, who knows if another world record will tumble.
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.
Men's Boulder podium at IFSC World Cup Seoul 2023
Photo: Dimitris Tosidis/IFSC