Keqiao 2024
IFSC World Cup Series 2024

The first final of the World Cup 2024 season has been confirmed with six women coming through the semi-final in Keqiao, China.

There were 13 countries represented in the semi-final with some familiar names joined by some new names on a Boulder final start list for the evening medal decider.

First the familiar. Slovenia’s Janja Garnbret once again is at the top of the list going through in first. Garnbret was the only climber to top three boulders.

Second, the new. France’s Zelia Avezou follows Garnbret into the final in what will be her first IFSC Boulder World Cup final appearance guaranteeing a personal best finish for the young climber.

Avezou said: “The most difficult part for me was recovering from every boulder. They were hard physically so I felt exhausted after each try. I’m feeling excited now though, it’s my first World Cup final. I want to enjoy it as much as I can. I also want to do my best and see what I’m capable of. Let’s just have fun!”

The French climber was one of two to top two boulders, with Japan’s Matsufuji Anon the other, and going through in third.

Matsufuji is hoping for more of her favourite problems in the final: “I’m so happy and I can’t believe it. The semi-final round was tough, I’m so tired now. I think the fourth boulder was my favourite as I flashed it. I really like slabs.”

Before Keqiao, Great Britain’s Erin McNeice had made one Boulder World Cup semi-final. Now, the young British climber is also guaranteed a personal best by making the final in fourth.

McNeice was one of three climbers into the final that topped one problem. The crowd will have some national interest as Luo Zhilu is one of those climbers going through in fifth, one place above Italy’s Camilla Moroni who left it late and had a nervous few minutes of watching.

Moroni said: “The semi-final round was pretty tough and stressful. The boulders were super hard, especially the second one. The most stressful part was waiting after I had finished for the results to see if I had made the final.”

The Italian’s one top came on the last boulder before she head backstage for her waiting game, but that top was a few months in the making: “I’m super satisfied about my flash on the final boulder, the slab. I’ve worked a lot over the winter on slabs and it’s good to see the work has paid off.”

Although they didn’t make the final, both Germany’s Anna Maria Apel and Japan’s Ishii Miku both posted personal best finishes with first time appearances in a Boulder World Cup semi-final.

Apel finished 16th and Ishii finished in 17th.

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

For full results click here

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