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Since 2014, Japan has ranked number one in the world for Bouldering. This past weekend, the Japanese Team continued to dominate, as seven of their athletes made finals and claimed four out of six possible medals. In addition to the Japanese sweep, Janja Garnbret, from Slovenia, proved yet again to be indomitable, at the May 4-5 event in Wujiang, China.
From the U.S., Ashima Shiraishi was just one spot away from advancing past qualifiers. Nathaniel Coleman was the only American to make semifinals, where he placed an impressive 12th.
In the women’s bracket, Miho Nonaka (JPN) made her 2019 debut after taking time off for a shoulder injury. Despite missing the last three World Cups, she qualified for finals in second, behind Garnbret. Jessica Pilz (AUT), qualified in third, showing consistency after placing third in the previous World Cup. The other athletes to qualify were the Japanese climbers Akiyo Noguchi and Ai Mori and Julia Chanourdie (FRA). Mori, 15, who won Japan’s National lead competition in 2018, was the youngest finalist. This was Chanoudie’s first bouldering finals qualification, although she is a familiar face among top lead competitors. Likewise, all five other finalists have proven themselves in lead competitions and as 2020 Olympic contenders.
In the finals round, Garnbret topped all four boulders in just five attempts, winning her a fourth gold medal for 2019. Noguchi, who placed second behind Garnbret in Meiringen and Chongqing, earned her third silver medal with three tops in four attempts. Mori took bronze with three tops in 11 attempts.
Among men, none of the previous 2019 winners (Adam Ondra, Jernej Kruder and Manuel Cornu) advanced into finals. Three Japanese climbers—Kokoro Fuji, Tomoa Narasaki and Kai Harada—entered finals in places first through third, respectively. All three climbers have made other finals fields this year. Behind Harada was Jakob Schubert (AUT), who won the 2018 lead World Championships, in his first time qualifying for finals in 2019. Jan Hojer (GER) took the fifth spot in his first IFSC competition of the year. Qualifying in sixth was 18-year-old Keita Dohi (JPN). Dohi won the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos, Aires, which was the first Olympic Games ever to include climbing.
The finals round presented a close race between Narasaki and Harada. Narasaki was the only competitor to top the first boulder, then fired the second and third boulder as well, gaining the obvious lead. Harada topped the second boulder, along with Schubert and Hojer, and seemed to fall matching the top hold of the third boulder (the moment is shown on replay videos, but it is hard to judge whether or not he had the required control).He was only awarded the top after a quick appeal, which put him in second behind Narasaki. Harada was the only competitor to finish the final boulder; however, Narasaki won by attempts to bonus holds. He claimed his first gold for 2019, after, like Noguchi, taking silver in Meiringen and Chongqing.
Complete results can be found below or on IFSC.
The next Bouldering World Cup will take place in Munich on May 18-19. Also going on that weekend is USAC Youth Sport and Speed Regionals and the Dominion Riverrock Festival. Check out the Events page to keep track of upcoming competitions.