The routes in the Briançon World Cup proved to be a test of endurance, with crimps and increasingly worse holds to the top. The final round began Saturday, July 20, as the sun was setting and a massive crowd gathered in the village square. This Word Cup was the halfway point in the lead season and the last World Cup before the World Championships, which start in three weeks in Hachioji, Japan.
The male finalists climbed first. The first athlete out was Hidemasa Nishida (JPN). Nishida, at just 16 years old, was competing in this eighth World Cup. Nishida climbed slowly throughout the beginning and then quickly cruised through the steep section of the wall. Upon reaching the headwall, it was clear the pump had set in, but Nishida fought his way through several more moves with some clever drop knees and quick rests. Nishida fell just a few holds short of the finish. Following Nishida’s run, it became evident that the headwall sequence was the crux. None of the other finalists were able to match Nishida’s high point. The next-best high point was set by Nishida’s compatriots, Hiroto Shimizu and Shuta Tanaka, who took second and third, respectively.
William Bosi (GBR) and Sean McColl (CAN), both repeat finalists from the 2019 season, took fourth and fifth. Sean Bailey, the first male American to make Lead finals this year, took sixth. Domen Skofic (SLO), another repeat finalist, took seventh and Marcello Bombardi (ITA) eighth.
The female finalists were next. Janja Garnbret (SLO), last year’s Overall Lead Champion and the 2019 Overall Boulder Champion, climbed fifth. At 20 years old, Garnbret was the oldest female finalist. She cruised the route and, after a dyno to the finish, clipped the top chains. Following her top, Tanii Natsuki (JPN) climbed next. Natsuki quickly advanced to the headwall but was unable to make the final dyno to the top. Chaehyun Seo (KOR), the winner of the Chamonix World Cup, was the last climber. Seo topped the route in style with a seemingly effortless jump to the finish. Following the competition, she told IFSC that she actually hates dynos. Seo, at 15, took her second gold due to countback. Garnbret took silver and Tanii bronze.
Mia Krampl (SLO) took fourth, Ashima Shiraishi (USA) fifth, YueTong Zhang (CHN) sixth, Vita Lukan (SLO) seventh and Nina Arthaud (FRA) eighth.
The Combined World Championships are August 20-21 in Hachioji, Japan. The top seven men and women will receive invitations to compete in Sport Climbing’s Olympic debut in Tokyo 2020. Stay tuned for more climbing news and event highlights.
Feature Image by Eddie Fowke