Stuttgart was climbing’s world capital this past weekend as it held ‘Adidas Rockstars 2019’, one of the most important climbing competitions. This event has a unique concept: it has four rounds (qualification, semi-finals, finals and super-finals) instead of the usual three. Moreover, live-music is played at the venue, the Porsche-Arena, by a rock band. This combination creates an outstanding show for both fanatics and casual viewers of sport climbing.
The first rounds at Adidas Rockstars are similar to IFSC competitions: in the qualification round athletes (separated in women’s and men’s categories) have four different boulders and five minutes to top (finish the route) each of them. The best 20 athletes progress to THE semi-finals, where once again they will have five problems to top. Here’s where the competition differs from usual championships: only six climbers will make it to the first round of the finals, after which the best three will compete for a place in the super-finals. In this final round, two athletes will climb an identical route on two walls at the same time, and whoever tops it first will win the competition.
At this high-level event, climbers can only participate by being invited by the organisation or by winning “Ticket to Rockstars” competition. This year Slovenia had 10 representatives, being the country – tied up with Japan – bringing the most athletes to the tournament.
There was no surprise at the women's competition to see that Janja Garnbret made it to both finals and super-finals. As a matter of fact, she was the only female competitor to top all three routes in the finals, flashing (to need only one attempt to get to the top) two of them. However, Garnbret got stuck in one hold at the super-final and Futaba Ito won the gold medal.
After an impressive performance in the semi-finals, Lučka Rakoveč made it to the next round and finished in 6th place after achieving one zone at the first boulder. There was no such luck for the rest of the Slovene women, as Mia Krampl (Lead Silver Medal winner at Hachioji World Championships), Julja Kruder and Urška Repušič (European Boulder Champion) finished in 12th place after a brutal semifinal round.
In the men’s competition, although all of the Slovenes made it to the semi-finals, only Gregor Vezonik could progress to the final, finishing his competition in 6th place. This round had some interesting boulders to top, with only the winner of the competition, Yoshiyuki Ogata (who has also competed in Slovenian National Championships) topping all of them and claiming the win.
As for the rest of the Slovene men, the 2018 Bouldering World Cup and also 2013 & 2018 Adidas Rockstar’s winner Jernej Kruder, could only make it to 12th place. Zan Sudar, Domen Škofic and Anze Preharc finished in 7th, 14th and 16th place respectively.
After this intense weekend, sport climbing will take a short break before next IFSC Lead World Cup, which will take place in Slovenia (Kranj) on September 28th and 29th. You can buy tickets here.