Japan’s Anraku Sorato has added yet another title and medal to his impressive senior haul in 2023 as he took gold in the men’s Boulder & Lead competition at the 19th Asian Games.

Quite simply, Anraku has had an unbelievable year, his first at senior level, after adding another gold to his collection of IFSC World Cup and World Championships medals. As the first ever to win the men’s IFSC World Cup Boulder series and Lead series in the same season, his latest triumph should come as no big surprise.

As the only climber in the final eight to top all four Boulder problems, Anraku was leading the way with 99.1 points. His closest competitor was teammate Narasaki Meichi on 74.4 points.

Also progressing from the semi-finals in first position meant Anraku climbed the Lead route last. And while nearly all the competitors fell early, Anraku once again showed why he has such a big trophy cabinet after just one season by climbing to 88.1 points in Lead and 187.8 overall for the gold.

Even with his latest win, Anraku has had one main focus all year, Olympic qualification: “I’m happy to win such a big competition. I thought the lower and middle parts of the Lead route were quite difficult actually. It was super hard. 

“This event has been good as more competition practice ahead of the Olympic qualifier in Jakarta. I feel like I am in really good shape. Perfect.”

Winning silver was South Korea’s Lee Dohyun, who had some work to do after a self-confessed disappointing Boulder round. 

Lee was fourth going into the Lead round, but as the only climber other than Anraku to make any inroads into the route, his 54.1 for a 118.7 points total was enough to lift him up onto the second step of podium.

Lee said: “It is an honour to win a silver at such a big event, but I will do my best to practice and win golds in the future. I’m good at Boulder, but I felt this competition was too big for me and I felt too much pressure and didn’t perform. I’m a little upset actually that I didn’t do as well as I could have.”

Completing the podium was a home favourite with Olympian Pan Yufei from China taking the bronze medal. 

Pan was down in fifth after the Boulder round on 59.6 points and had to sit and watch as the top four from semi-finals took their shot at Lead. Before Anraku and Lee even attempted their Lead route, Pan knew he was guaranteed a medal as uncharacteristic low falls from Narasaki and South Korea’s Chon Jongwon put him top with two to go.

His Boulder 59.6 and 28 points from Lead gave the Chinese climber an 87.6 total.

Chon ended the competition in a heart-breaking fourth just two points back from Pan with Narasaki behind in fifth, both visibly showing emotions of disappointment, and a little shock, after their low Lead route falls.  

China’s Huang Jinbin finished the competition in sixth overall with Hong Kong’s Chan Cheung Chi Shoji in seventh and Indonesia’s Simatupang Muhammad Rizky Syahrafli eighth.

Full results can be found here The Asian Games competition draws to a close tomorrow as the women’s Boulder & Lead champion will be crowned.


Men's Boulder & Lead podiumPhoto: Dimitris Tosidis

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