As the 2021 International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) season and the postponed Tokyo Olympics approach, everyone is wondering how things will play out amid the coronavirus pandemic. With international case rates largely declining and vaccination rates increasing, however, it appears that the competition season will mostly go ahead as planned, with a few delays.
The IFSC’s Executive Board just confirmed that the first competition of the year will take place in Meiringen, Switzerland, on 16 and 17 April, as scheduled. The Meiringen World Cup will feature exclusively Bouldering, with the following World Cup, in Salt Lake City, the sole American stop on the tour, featuring Bouldering as well at the end of May.
The panel also confirmed that the World Championships will still be held in Moscow this year (September 15 to 22). The decision was initially up in the air after a high profile doping case between the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA).
This case saw the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) rule in favor of WADA, declaring the Russians non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code for a period of at least two years. Notably, the CAS confirmed WADA assertions that the Russians manipulated Moscow Laboratory data to cover up records of institutionalized doping. The CAS went on to impose a range of associated consequences. Among these, “Russia will not be permitted to participate in, bid for or host any covered event, including two editions of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and many other major events, for the next two years. The Russian flag will not fly nor will its anthem be played.” An in-depth Q&A from WADA covering this process is available for download HERE.
Despite their decision to go ahead and host the World Championships in the Russian capital in light of the CAS ruling, the IFSC maintained that they will “fully respect the CAS decision and, at the same time, deliver an event that lives up to the standards required of the IFSC flagship competition.” Other events, such as the IFSC World Cups and the Youth World Championships, are also unaffected by the CAS ruling.
For a full calendar of the IFSC 2021 Season, head HERE.
In other news, Jongwon Chon and Chaehyun Seo, South Korea’s male and female qualified climbers for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, are still yet to be officially listed as confirmed, qualified athletes on the IFSC site.
With the IFSC Asian Championships tabled last year due to the coronavirus, Chon and Seo were defaulted into the remaining slots based on results from the 2019 World Championships in Hachioji, where the duo were the next highest qualifying eligible finishers. Though the Asian Championships were slated to take place again in December 2020, they again were axed due to a widespread event ban in China and the inability of any other regional nations to hold an event, which would mean the slots fall back to Chon and Seo.
Whether the lapse is a simple clerical discrepancy or indicative of some dispute over the remaining two slots, it remains unclear why the IFSC has yet to formally list the two South Koreans on their “Confirmed Qualified Athletes” page, along with the other 38 qualified international climbers.
Feature image of Jongwon Chon by Eddie Fowke/IFSC
Owen Clarke is a writer currently based in Tennessee. He is a Contributing Digital Editor at Rock and Ice and Gym Climber. He enjoys Southern sandstone and fish tacos, and is afraid of heights.
Follow him on Instagram at @opops13.