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Chaehyun Seo and Adam Ondra take Gold in Chamonix

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More ties, a first time winner and, of course, another gold for Adam Ondra in lead finals in Chamonix, one of the most popular World Cups of the year.

The Chamonix Lead World Cup qualification rounds began Friday, July 12. The top 26 athletes who made semifinals were familiar faces, including superstar Janja Garnbret (SLO), the winner of the World Cup in Villars. Adam Ondra (CZE) returned to the stage after a wrist injury and was the only male competitor to top both qualifying routes. Alex Megos (GER), who placed third in Villars, also had an impressive showing and placed second behind Ondra.

For the women, semifinals proved to be a rough round. To everyone’s surprise, Garnbret pumped out relatively low and missed the cutoff for finals by one spot. “Well I guess it had to happen,” she said on Instagram.

Ashima Shiraishi reaching the headwall in finals. Photo Chase Willie

Notably, four 15-year-olds advanced through to finals: Natsuki Tanii (JPN) in first, Chaehyun Seo (KOR) in second, YueTong Zhang (CHN) in third and Ai Mori (JPN) in sixth. Last year’s Overall second place lead climber, Jessica Pilz (AUT), came in fourth. Ashima Shiraishi, from the U.S., also advanced in seventh. 

As in Villars, the setters failed to achieve a decisive final route for the women. The round proved anticlimactic when the top five women fell in the same spot and their final standings were largely determined by countbacks to semis. Seo, who silvered in Villars, took home the gold. Chamonix was only her second World Cup competition. Zhang placed second and Pilz third.

The men’s podium. From left to right: Alex Megos, Adam Ondra, Jakob Schubert. Photo Chase Willie.

Like the women’s, the men’s semifinal route saw no tops. Still, Ondra got the highpoint on the headwall with enough energy to wave to the crowd. Last year’s Overall lead winner, Jakob Schubert (AUT), advanced in fifth.Megos snuck into the final lineup in eighth. 

By the time men’s finals began, the sun had set against Mont Blanc and the Chamonix square was packed with spectators. Megos was first out and climbed with shrewd movements, using a split mid route to rest. Megos, however, was not able to climb to his full limit after a foot slip ended his attempt. Even so, he remained in first up until Ondra got on the wall. Ondra cruised past the high point and nearly to the finish to earn his first gold for the lead season and second gold in 2019. Schubert took home the bronze.

Up next is the Paraclimbing World Championship, beginning tomorrow July 16. Follow Gym Climber on Instagram for athlete takeovers from the event. The next Lead World Cup will be in Briançon, July 19. 

Feature Image by Eddie Fowke/IFSC

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