Chaehyun Seo, Sean Bailey and Hiroto Shimizu are First in Semifinals in Briançon World Cup

It’s been just two days since the Paraclimbing World Championships, but already the next Lead World Cup has begun in Briançon, France.This competition is the halfway mark for the 2019 Lead season. As Overall standings begin to shape up, we get a better idea about who will be top Olympic contenders.

For the women, there are many familiar faces going into finals. Of the eight competitors to move on from semis, six have already made a finals this year. Nina Arthaud (FRA) and Vita Lukan (SLO) are the two new faces in the women’s field. In the men’s bracket there are only three repeat finalists—William Bosi (GBR), Sean McColl (CAN) and Domen Skofic (SLO). 

Chaehyun Seo (KOR), the winner of the Chamonix World Cup, was the only competitor to top the semifinal route. At just 15 years old, this is Seo’s third World Cup competition, but she won the Youth B Asian Championships last year. Seo also has an impressive outdoor ticklist, with climbs like Bad Girls Club (5.14d), in Rifle, Colorado, which she ticked at age 14.

Natsuki Tanii (JPN), the only other competitor aside from Seo to top both qualification routes, fell going to the finish in semifinals. Tannii is also 15 and this was her fourth World Cup. Janja Garnbret fell in the same spot as Tannii and qualified for finals in third. Garnbret recently made history in the bouldering season by being the first climber to have a clean season sweep. The remaining finalists are Mia Krampl (SLO), YueTong Zhang (CHN) and Ashima Shiraishi (USA). 

Sean Bailey (USA) and Hiroto Shimizu (JPN) are tied for first going into finals. This is Shimizu’s second time make a World Cup final and Bailey’s sixth. Both athletes fell just a few moves short of the top. The other finalists are Shuta Tanaka (JPN), Marcello Bombardi (ITA) and Hidemasa Nishida (JPN). Alex Megos (GER), who is currently ranked first for the 2019 season, finished the semifinal round in 16th. Missing from the men’s field were Adam Ondra (CZE) and Jakob Schubert (AUT), both of whom chose to take the weekend off in preparation for the World Championships.  

Finals are tomorrow, July 20, at 1:00 p.m. MST. Stay tuned for a recap and photos. 

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