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Janja Garnbret has become the first woman ever to win both the Bouldering and Lead competitions in the same World Championships, in Hachioji, Japan. After an impressive bouldering victory, where she led the field with an extra top, she climbed four holds past the high point in Lead to earn her second gold.
The first person ever to win both a Bouldering and Lead World Championship in the same year was Adam Ondra in 2014. This year, Ondra narrowly earned first after the leading semifinalist Alex Megos slipped a hold before Ondra’s high point.
In an interview with the IFSC, Ondra said, “Honestly, tonight I didn’t expect it. I felt tired. No matter how much I tried to pretend that I wasn’t tired after the bouldering final, I was. But tonight I really left everything on the table … Honestly, I expected Alex to climb higher. I feel definitely lucky that I won.”
The women’s semifinal results were close, with several ties and separations by movement. From the U.S., Brooke Raboutou ended the round in 15th with a score of 28+. A score of 30+ was enough to make finals (if you had ranked high in the qualification round). Anak Verhoeven (BEL), a past Lead World Cup winner, made her 2019 debut this Championship after a long year of injury. In a painful moment, she missed finals after timing out.
The women’s finalists included three Slovenians— Vita Lukan, Mia Krampl and Garnbret— and two Japanese climbers, Ai Mori and Akiyo Noguchi. Rounding out the line up were the current 2019 lead forerunner Chaehyun Seo (KOR), last year’s Lead World Champion Jessica Pilz (AUT), and Julia Chanourdie (FRA).
Held on a slightly shorter wall than is traditional, the finals route was bouldery from the start, with big moves to bad holds that made clipping awkward and resting challenging. All finalists reached the headwall, but the ensuing pump slowed their progress. While there were ties in the bottom half of the field, the podium finishers were well separated. Garnbret won by a clear lead, and her compatriot Krampl took second. The 15-year-old Ai Mori took third in front of her home crowd after falling one hold before Krampl’s high point. One of the favorites to win, Seo, placed fourth after matching Mori’s high point.
The men’s semifinal route distinguished the top and bottom climbers. Megos was able to climb 11 holds past the high point needed for the finals cut. From the U.S., Drew Ruana placed 16th and Sean Bailey, who recently ticked his second 5.15a (Joe Mama), placed 21st.
The men’s final lineup included Hannes Puman (SWE), last year’s Boulder World Champion Kai Harada (JPN), Stefano Ghisolfi (ITA), Sean McColl (CAN), the 2019 Boulder World Champion Tomoa Narasaki (JPN), last year’s Lead World Champion Jakob Schubert (AUT), Megos (GER) and Ondra (CZE).
The men’s final route zigzagged up the wall with a mix of crimps, sloppers and dual-texture holds. Like the women, all men made it to the top headwall and were then quickly depleted. Megos struggled with a lower section, having to downclimb after realizing his foot was insecure. Still, he pushed on to Schubert’s high point. He seemed about to catch up to Ondra, when his foot slipped on a small dual-tex volume. He fell with some gas still left in the tank. Megos took silver and Schubert bronze.
After five days of brutal competition, the athletes get a rest day tomorrow in Hachioji. The competition will resume on Saturday with Speed rounds, and the Combined competition will begin Sunday. Follow Gym Climber to stay up to date on the action.
Full results can be found on IFSC-climbing.org.
Feature Image by Eddie Fowke/IFSC
- Janja Garnbret (SLO)
- Mia Krampl (SLO)
- Ai Mori (JPN)
- Chaehyun Seo (KOR)
- Akiyo Noguchi (JPN)
- Jessica Pilz (AUT)
- Vita Lukan (SLO)
- Julia Chanourdie (FRA)
- Adam Ondra (CZE)
- Alex Megos (GER)
- Jakob Schubert (AUT)
- Tomoa Narasaki (JPN)
- Sean McColl (CAN)
- Stefano Ghisolfi (ITA)
- Kai Harada (JPN)
- Hannes Puman (SWE)