Slovene sport climbing fans had an intense weekend, with the arrival of the IFSC Lead Climbing World Cup to Kranj. The competition landed in Slovenia with a wide range of possibilities ahead. Before this weekend, on women’s competition Chaehyun Seo from Korea was leading the way with two victories, while local hero Janja Ganrbret closely followed in the second place in the overall ranking.
Kranj’s World Cup started on Saturday with the qualification round. After a strong performance on this stage, Garnbret safely moved to the semi-finals after she topped one route and made it to hold 39+ on the second one. However, she fell really low down on the wall at the semi-finals, missing her second final in this year’s lead competition. This means that after this weekend, although she is still in second place in the overall ranking with 243 points, it is less likely that she will be able to win the lead title.
On the other hand, Mia Krampl and Lučka Rakoveč safely made it to the finals, which took place on Sunday evening in front of a massive, delighted crowd. Mia Krampl went first, and although she looked really strong in the first half of the route, she almost slipped on hold 20, and after she tried to go for hold 21 she sadly fell down. Certainly not the final Mia was expecting, but surely she will go for the win on upcoming competitions. As a matter of fact, holds 20 and 21 became a problem for some of the athletes, as four of them went down at this point.
However, when Lučka Rakoveč, the other female Slovene athlete, jumped on the mats, the audience went crazy once again. Her climbing style was powerful and secure, and she safely made it through holds 20 and 21 without further ado. Lučka started to look slightly pumped after her rest on the overhanging part of the wall, and fell down after hold 34+. After the last climber out, Ai Mori, also went down on hold 20+ – the same as Mia Krampl – Lučka secured a bronze medal in Kranj’s World Cup, successfully achieving her first podium in a Lead World Cup. As she did on the past World Cups, Chaehyun Seo secured her third win of the season reaching to hold 34.5+, while Jessica Pilz from Austria claimed the silver medal with a 34.5.
As for the rest of female Slovene athletes, Tjaša Kalan, Lana Skušek and Mina Markovič made it to the semi-finals and ended up in 10th, 11th and 15th places. Lucija Tarkuš finished her competition in 41st place in the qualification round.
On the men’s side, Alexander Megos (Germany) and Sasha Lehmann (Switzerland) and William Bosi (United Kingdom) were battling over the first positions on the overall ranking. However, several surprises waited ahead over the weekend as all of them missed this competition. All eyes were therefore on Adam Ondra after he missed his first chance to qualify for the 2020 Olympics and Jakob Schubert (two times Overall Lead World Cup Winner).
Adam Ondra on the wall. YouTube
The first did not disappoint and absolutely dominated all competition rounds. He topped both routes in qualification, finished on hold 39+ – almost the top – at the semi-finals and once again topped the final route, being the only man who actually made it past hold 32. Impressive performance by the Czech climber, who was a crowd-pleaser and delivered a great show for local audience.
No such luck for Jakob Schubert, who was the penultimate athlete to jump into the mats and had to deal with hold 12+ losing its friction as the competition went on. After he didn’t find a good position to face this problem, he fell down before even reaching the middle of the route.
Surprises were not over as Kai Harada, a climber who usually performs better on boulder categories, finished his competition in 2nd place, and young rising star Alberto Ginés Lopez, a 16-year-old from Spain, made it to his first Lead World Cup Podium in 3rd position.
As for the Slovene male athletes, none of them could make it into the final. Luka Potočar, Martin Bergant and Anze Peharc performed really well on semi-final round but could only make it to13th, 15th and 16th positions. In the qualification round, Jernej Kruder, Žiga Zajc, Milan Preskar and Andrej Polak finished in 42nf, 45th, 52th and 56th places.
With only two Lead World Cups remaining, Janja Garnbret, Mia Krampl and Lučka Rakovec will be able to perform her last battles of the season to secure positions in the overall lead podium. Next stop will be Xiamen (China), from the 18th till the 20th of October.