It was all a matter of attack and defence at the 19th Asian Games as Indonesia’s world champion Desak Made Rita Kusuma Dewi took gold and an Asian record and Iran’s Reza Alipour Shenazandifard defended his men’s crown at the Shaoxing Keqiao Yangshan Sport Climbing Centre in Hanzghou, China.

Iran’s Reza Alipour Shenazandifard loves the Asian Games. The winner of the inaugural medal in Jakarta 2018 on Sport Climbing’s first outing at the Games, Alipour Shenazandifard was the winner.

Since 2018 Alipour Shenazandifard has had a bit of a lean spell when it comes to medals, but a consistent string of 5.1, 5.2 and 5.3 runs powered him on to defend his title in China.

Coming up against world record holder Veddriq Leonardo of Indonesia, Alipour Shenazandifard triumphed. In the final against home favourite Long Jinbao, Alipour Shenazandifard triumphed. While others around where stumbling he was mister consistent.

The final saw the slowest time for Alipour Shenazandifard with a 5.30 enough to claim gold after Long fell, and with it the emotion, and roars, poured out. Long had to settle for silver.

Leonardo had come very close to being eliminated in the first round of finals when a big slip saw him make a stunning comeback to by just 0.15 seconds. His luck ran out though in the semi-finals which set up the bronze medal match up with China’s Wu Peng whose false start put him in the small final.

In qualification Leonardo set a new Asian Games record of 4.97. He lowered that in the small final to 4.95 to take bronze and overcome just a little some of the disappointing runs he experienced during the competition.

Desak Made Rita Kusuma Dewi was the one to beat in Hangzhou after the Indonesian took the world title in Bern, Switzerland, in August. With that win Dewi also booked her place at the Olympic Games in Paris 2024.

Now, the Indo climber has added another title with not only a win at the Asian Games, but a new Asian record to go with it in a whirlwind few months.

Finishing top of qualification, Dewi progressed through the finals to set up a showdown with home favourite Deng Lijuan. In the final round, Dewi produced a 6.36 to take gold and the new Asian record, and she needed it as Deng herself lowered the previous record also with a 6.43. But, on this occasion, it was only quick enough for silver.

In the small final there was another Indonesia-China shoot out for the bronze medal, and once again Indonesia triumphed as Rajiah Sallsabillah took advantage of a fall from Niu Di to stand with teammate Dewi on the podium.

With the top four places going to Indonesia and the home nation China, all eyes will be on the draw for the Relay tomorrow as both nations will have eyes on gold when they add another climber to their roster and race for team glory.

Full results for the Asian Games can be found here Competition continues at 11:00 (UTC+8:00) with the women’s and men’s Speed Relay qualification. The medals will then be decided at 20:00.


Desak Made Rita Kusuma Dewi celebrates her win at the Asian GamesPhoto: Dimitris Tosidis/IFSC

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