There was an eruption of sound at the Shaoxing Keqiao Yangshan Sport Climbing Centre as hosts China claimed a golden double topping both the men’s and women’s Speed Relay at the 19th Asian Games.

Making it into the finals in second place behind Indonesia in qualification, the men’s team of Wang Xinshang, Wu Peng and Zhang Liang came through a quarter-final against Thailand, a semi-final against Singapore and overcame the strong Indonesian trio in the final.

With three Speed climbers comes three opportunities for false starts making tense competition in the Speed Relay, and it was the Indonesian team who succumb to the heart-breaking scenario of a false start on leg three in the gold medal match-up. It meant whilst Team China could celebrate gold, Leonardo Veddriq, Kiromal Katibin and Rahmad Adi Mulyono had to settle for silver.

The beaten semi-finalists, South Korea and Singapore fought it out for bronze with Jung Yongjun, Lee Seungbeom and Lee Yongsu making the podium for South Korea. Some early slips from Team Singapore meant South Korea just had to keep it clean to beat Bin Mohamad Kamal Amar Hassan, Denzel Jit Yi Chua and Bing Qian Tan. The final times were 17.82 to South Korea and 23.16 to Singapore.

The women’s podium was a copy and paste as China took gold, Indonesia silver and South Korea the bronze.

Deng Lijuan, Niu Di and Zhang Shaoqin from China and Desak Made Rita Kusuma Dewi, Nurul Iqamah and Rajiah Sallsabillah from Indonesia were evenly matched throughout the competition, and even closer until the very last hold. A close race came down to a stutter at the very last jump to tap as an Indonesia slip gave the advantage to the host nation, which they happily took. The final race result was 20.92 seconds for China and 23.50 to Indonesia. 

The semi-final saw Choi Nawoo, Jeong Jimin and Noh Heeju of South Korea take on Assel Marlenova, Tamara Ulzhabeyeva and Adeliya Utesheva of Kazakhstan. Neither team had particularly clean runs with a Kazakhstan slip handing the initiative to South Korea, before they returned the favour to let their opponents back in the race.

The final South Korean climber just managed to compose herself to bring home the bronze with a time of 26.90 compared to Kazakhstan’s 27.99.

The Asian Games now moves onto the Boulder & Lead discipline with qualification beginning at 09:00 (UTC+8:00) tomorrow for both the men and women.


Team China celebrate the men's Speed Relay gold medalPhoto: Dimitris Tosidis/IFSC

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