L/R: Natalia KALUCKA of Poland, Aleksandra MIROSLAW of Poland
IFSC World Cup Series 2024
Wujiang 2024

All eyes were on the new men’s Speed world record holder, USA’s Sam Watson, at the IFSC World Cup Wujiang, but thankfully for the home crowd Wu Peng didn’t read the script.

Both Wu and Watson were showing remarkable consistency throughout the competition with the slowest time for either climber before a gold medal match up was Wu’s 5.01 in qualification.

However, after both successfully navigating the sometimes tense and tricky winner goes through format the final race saw Wu defend the gold medal he won in the same arena last year with 4.91 compared to Watson’s 5.11.

Wu said: “I’m so excited and happy. That’s all I can say really. In training I am always hovering around the five second mark and to do it consistently in competition is just a result of how well my winter training has gone and my training as a whole is, so I am happy with that.”

For silver medallist Watson, eyes are firmly on the future when he has the home advantage in Salt Lake City: “Obviously I want to win, and so does every other athlete. It’s probably my best performance ever and I’m super happy with my performance. The last run I just had a little bit of a stumble up against Peng Wu who is one the best athletes in the world in front of his home crowd. Next World Cup is on my home turf so let’s see if I can get the win.”

At the semi-final stage, Wu overcame Italy’s Ludovico Fossali and Watson beat former world record holder Kiromal Katibin who fell. That meant the small final and fight for bronze was between Fossali and Katibin.

Despite a personal best from Fossali of 5.16 it was Katibin who took the last step on the podium with a 5.07.

Full results for the men can be found here

In the women’s competition, the world record holder did get the gold. Aleksandra Miroslaw added yet another first prize to her collection, the 12th World Cup gold of her career and equalling her own world record along the way.

At the semi-final stage, Poland was guaranteed medals with the battle of the Aleksandra’s – Miroslaw and Kalucka - in one semi and Natalia Kalucka and South Korea’s Jeong Jimin in the other.

A fall from Aleksandra Kalucka sent Miroslaw through and a stumble from Jeong put Natalia through.

Miroslaw pulled a 6.24 – a world record equalling time – out of the bag for the finals to take the gold. Natalia posted a 6.75.

Miroslaw said: “I think it was a really tough road to this gold. I had a lot of emotion in this competition after a not very good qualification. I had 24 hours to think about it with some really hard thoughts and I’m really happy that I handled it. It’s amazing because it proved to me that I can do this and find the right mindset.”

With two spots on the podium, it was up to Alekandra Kalucka to try and make it a Polish full house, but Jeong had other ideas.

Jeong stayed cool under pressure with a 6.62 compared to the 8.93 Kalucka posted after a slip on the wall. That bronze meant Jeong became the first from her country to win a women’s Speed World Cup medal.

Full results for the women can be found here

To hear more from the athletes at the IFSC World Cup Wujiang click here

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