The last round of the IFSC World Cup tour in China battled crazy weather in Xiamen, where Molly Thompson-Smith – the only GB Climbing Team athlete competing – showed that her incredible form this season is here to stay.
Once again representing the GB Climbing Team solo, Molly Thompson-Smith travelled to Xiamen to compete in the last China round of the season. It was only last week that Molly competed in Wujiang, China, where she came fifth – her highest ever finish in an IFSC World Cup – despite nearly losing her checked baggage.
IFSC Lead Final: Report
Blustery winds and heavy rain cancelled the women’s Lead semi-final, despite it being rescheduled for the next day. Fortunately, Molly had already done enough in qualifications – two tops on two routes – to earn her a place in the final as one of 13 athletes to have topped both routes.
Conditions were still far from perfect in the final, as climbers had to dodge puddles on their way to the base of the wall, and quickdraws swaying in the high winds often made clipping the rope in more tricky than usual. But athletes powered through these additional challenges to make impressive progress up the slopey, widely spaced, volumes.
Ashima Shiraishi of USA set a decent high point early on, falling just two moves short of the top. But it was enough to earn her second place and the silver medal, Ashima’s first senior IFSC World Cup podium.
Molly Thompson-Smith came out strong, cruising up the initial vertical section of the wall without pausing for any break. However, after a couple of powerful dynamic moves, where she had to jump and latch an out-of-reach hold, Molly came off just after and fell a couple of moves short of Ashima’s high point to end up in joint sixth position.
The high point set by Ashima stood until Anak Verhoeven of Belgium came out, where Anak marched up the whole route with energy to spare to the very top, clipping the chains and taking her very first victory of the season – a feat that even Janja Garnbret of Slovenia couldn’t match.
In fact, Janja seemed to climb less fluidly and efficiently than usual, struggling on moves she’d normally cruise. But it seems even her off-days are better than most, as she fell only three moves from the top for the bronze medal and to clinch the Lead season title for the second year running, only one week after defending her Combined season title as well. She now holds the highest Combined score in IFSC history.
For the men, Bouldering stars once again made their way to the Lead finals, with big names Jongwon Chon of Korea, Tomoa Narasaki and Kokoro Fujii of Japan all representing. Tomoa came away with another silver medal, but it was his teammate Keiichiro Korenaga who navigated his way best up the steep wall to claim gold. Meanwhile, YuFei Pan of China took the bronze medal.
WATCH: Highlights of the IFSC Lead Final Xiamen
IFSC Lead Final: Results
1st: Anak Verhoeven (BEL)
2nd: Ashima Shiraishi (USA)
3rd: Janja Garnbret (SLO)
4th: Jessica Pilz (AUT)
5th: Mina Markovic (SLO)
6th: Akiyo Noguchi (JPN)
6th: Molly Thompson-Smith (GBR)
8th: Jain Kim (KOR)
8th: Hannah Schubert (AUT)
10th: Risa Ota (JPN)
11th: Mathilde Becerra (FRA)
11th: Julia Chanourdie (FRA)
11th: Mei Kotake (JPN)
1st: Keiichiro Korenaga (JPN)
2nd: Tomoa Narasaki (JPN)
3rd: YuFei Pan (CHN)
4th: Jongwon Chon (KOR)
5th: Fedir Samoilov (UKR)
6th: Kokoro Fujii (JPN)
7th: Stefano Ghisolfi (ITA)
8th: HaiBin Qu (CHN)
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HIGHLIGHTS: 2019 La Sportiva British Bouldering Championships