The China Tour concluded with title-winning performances from elite sport climbing athletes at the final Speed and penultimate Lead event of 2017.
Vladislav Deulin of Russia needed 4th place or better to clinch the season title, but he did much more than that this weekend. He clocked a personal best time on the 15-metre Speed wall (5.53 seconds) in winning the final match and never scored a time above six seconds. The victory was Deulin’s third of the season and earned him the title of Speed season champion. Wujiang runner-up Aspar Jaelolo was also fast this weekend and brought home another silver medal for Indonesia. 19-year-old Kostiantyn Pavlenko kept a steady pace in every race to stand on his first IFSC Speed World Cup podium. World record holder Reza Alipourshenazandifar of Iran finished in second place on the season after missing two events, and Ludovico Fossali of Italy finished in third place.
After losing the season title in Xiamen last season to rival Iuliia Kaplina, Anouck Jaubert of France responded with a flawless performance this year. She never scored a time above eight seconds and, despite needing second place in the final to surpass Kaplina, kept her composure to win her fourth gold medal of 2017 and the Speed season title. Kaplina missed the finals but still had a spectacular season, winning three events to finish in second place. Her Russian teammate Mariia Krasavina stood on four podiums to finish in third place. Aries Susanti Rahayu increased Indonesia’s medal count on the China Tour in becoming the first female Indonesian athlete to stand on the podium at an IFSC Speed World Cup. Anna Tsyganova of Russia won the bronze medal.
Russia remained undefeated in the Speed team rankings, having placed first every year since the inception of the IFSC. France matched its second place of last season, and Italy rose to third place.
When rain cancelled the women’s Lead semi-final, the 13 athletes with two tops in qualifications qualified for finals. Ashima Shiraishi of the United States was first to make significant progress on a challenging headwall, falling two moves shy of the top hold for her first IFSC World Cup podium. The mark stood until Anak Verhoeven stepped onto the wall. The athlete from Belgium marched to the chains with energy to spare for her first victory of the season. Slovenian Janja Garnbret joined them on the podium, placing third to clinch the Lead season title for the second consecutive season. Last weekend in Wujiang, she defended her Combined season title as well, and she boasts the highest Combined score in IFSC history.
For the men, Bouldering stars Jongwon Chon of Korea and Tomoa Narasaki of Japan returned to Lead finals in Xiamen, as well as Kokoro Fujii. In the end, Japan’s Keiichiro Korenaga climbed highest on the steep final route for his first IFSC World Cup victory, and Narasaki matched his second place in Wujiang. 17-year-old YuFei Pan and HaiBin Qu of China both competed in their first final this weekend and received much support from the home crowd. Pan climbed superbly, cutting feet and fighting the pump to win the first IFSC Lead World Cup medal for China.