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New Speed Record and Wins for Ondra and Seo

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This past weekend Xiamen, China hosted the final 2019 Speed World Cup and penultimate Lead World Cup. Athlete attendance was down as the season continues to unwind from the Hachioji World Championships, however many of the season’s top athletes came ready to fight for Overall titles. The real showdown was between Janja Garnbret, who won the Bouldering, Lead and Combined World Championships, and 15-year-old Chaehyun Seo. Despite being a newcomer, Seo has had a remarkable season—three golds and one silver prior to Xiamen. 

Women’s Highlights:

Chaehyun Seo gets bendy with a high heel hook as she moves toward the finish.

The women’s 38-move final featured a mix of green and dual-tex volumes on a relatively vertical wall. Overall it was an undercooked mix of open-handed slopey holds, bad crimps, high heel hooks and locks offs. Almost all of the finalists made it to the top, with three falling going for the finish hold and the other three, Jain Kim (KOR), Akiyo Noguchi (JPN) and Chaehyun Seo (KOR), clipping the chains. 

Janja Garnbret (SLO) had been tied with Seo in both the qualification and semifinal rounds after topping all three routes. To everyone’s surprise, Garnbret misjudged the finish and opted to jump for the final hold rather than throw a heel hook. She fell short of snatching the hold and placed fourth behind Kim. 

There is still one more Lead World Cup remaining in the season, but Seo has already secured her title as Overall Lead champion.

Men’s Highlights: 

Adam Ondra encouraging the crowd to get behind him on the final clip.

The men’s route mirrored the women’s with a series of slopey blue volumes and friction-reliant holds. There were few places to shake out and most men reached the top with three minutes remaining on the clock. Like the women, the men’s final was too easy and topped by three athletes, Adam Ondra (CZE), Teisei Homma (JPN) and Tomoa Narasaki (JPN). 

The semifinal round resulted in a seven way tie for second, with only Kai Harada (JPN) making it past the bottleneck. In the final round, Harada reached the top with ease, but like Garnbret, misjudged the final move. He opted not to make an intermediate move to another hold and missed the finish. Harada, who has never medaled in a Lead World Cup before, placed fourth behind Narasaki.

Ondra climbed the route with his usual confidence and decisive movements. When he reached the finish hold, he asked for the crowd’s support before clipping the chains. Despite only competing at three Lead World Cups this year, Ondra now has three gold medals and has secured his Overall title. 

Speed Results:

The Overall Sped title was up for grabs between the crowd favorite and record holder YiLing Song (CHN) and the 2018 Overall winner Anouck Jaubert (FRA). Jaubert stumbled in the small final race against Mariia Krasavina (RUS), putting her in fourth place—not enough to overcome Song’s leading ranking. 

Song raced Aries Susanti Rahayu (INA) in the big final. Susanti Rahayu was the the Overall 2018 vice-champion, although this year her results haven’t been quite as good. In the final race, Susanti Rahayu had the perfect speed run from start to finish and clocked in at 6.995, breaking the elusive 7-second barrier for women and setting a new record. Song slipped early in the race and settled for second, while winning the Overall season. 

QiXin Zhong celebrates his first place victory.

Bassa Mawem (FRA), the 2018 Overall winner, was narrowly ranked ahead of Vladislav Deulin (RUS), the 2017 Overall winner. In the round of eight, Mawem looked set to beat QiXin Zhong (CHN) until he slipped and fell near the top. Mawem finished in fifth. Deulin raced Sergey Rukin (RUS) in the small final and beat his compatriot to place third, higher than Mawem but still not enough to overcome Mawem’s season lead. Mawem placed first for the Overall Speed season and Deulin second.

Zhong raced Lev Rudatskiy (RUS) in the big final and came out on top to win for the first time since 2016. While no records were broken in any of the men’s races, Zhong was just one hundredth of a second away from matching Reza Alipourshenazandifar’s record 5.48.  

USA Results:

Ashima Shiraishi gets a quick shake on the semifinal route.

The US had one of the best World Cup showings of the year, with Margo Hayes and Ashima Shiraish both making it to lead semifinals, placing 20th and 25th, respectively. Alex Johnson finished 36th and Maggie Hammer 47th. Two male Americans made it to finals, Jesse Grupper (7th), and Sean Bailey (8th). This was Gupper’s first time qualifying for finals in a World Cup and Bailey’s seventh time making the final stage. Drew Ruana placed 27th, Nathaniel Coleman 38th and John Brosler 47th.

In Speed, Johnson placed 34th, Hayes 42nd, Hammer 44th and Shiraishi 47th. Bailey placed 46th, Ruana 51st, Brosler 62nd and Coleman 62nd.

Feature Image by Eddie Fowke


Women Lead

  1. Chaehyun Seo (KOR)
  2. Akiyo Noguchi (JPN)
  3. Jain Kim (KOR)
  4. Janja Garnbret (SLO)
  5. Natsuki Tanii (JPN)
  6. Lucka Rakovec (SLO)
  7. YueTong Zhang (CHN)
  8. Levgeniia Kazbekova (UKR)

Men’s Lead

  1. Adam Ondra (CZE)
  2. Taisei Homma (JPN)
  3. Tomoa Narasaki (JPN)
  4. Kai Harada (JPN)
  5. Alberto Ginés López (ESP)
  6. Meichi Narasaki (JPN)
  7. Jesse Grupper (USA)
  8. Sean Bailey (USA)

Women’s Speed

  1. Aries Susanti Rahayu (INA)
  2. YiLing Song (CHN)
  3. Mariia Krasavina (RUS)
  4. Anouck Jaubert (FRA)
  5. Lijuan Deng (CHN)
  6. PeiYang Tian (CHN)
  7. Di Niu (CHN)
  8. Aurelia Sarisson (FRA)

Men’s Speed

  1. QiXin Zhong (CHN)
  2. Lev Rudatskiy (RUS)
  3. Vladislav Deulin (RUS)
  4. Sergey Rukin (RUS)
  5. Bassa Mawem (FRA)
  6. Reza Alipourshenazandifar (IRI)
  7. Dmitrii Timofeev (RUS)
  8. Alfian Muhammad (INA)

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