After last week’s IFSC World Cup in Kranj, sport climbing moved to Edinburgh for the European Championships in Lead and Speed categories. After IFSC World Cups, these are one of the most important competitions in sport climbing, and fans were eager to see who could get the medals.
All Slovene eyes were set on Lučka Rakovec after her first bronze medal seven days prior to this event, and she did not disappoint. She safely made it to the semi-finals in 4th position and was ready to fight in Sunday’s afternoon final round. Young climber Luce Douady, the first one out at the final, set a really high point – hold 43 – but it was Lučka who broke it some minutes later after achieving an impressive 46+. After her performance it was clear that the route for the final, although it wasn’t extremely hard on a technical level, required plenty of endurance and a quick climbing style to make it to the top, which at the end became the key factor to separate the athletes. No other climber could make it higher than new Slovene rising star, and Lučka claimed her first gold medal in a senior competition.
Tjaša Kalan was the second Slovene woman to compete in the finals, and although she looked strong on the first part of the route she got stuck after hold 19 and lost a lot of valuable time trying to get over this obstacle. She managed to move on, however, but was already pumped after her fight and fell shortly after on hold 22+.
Legend Mina Markovič (she has won 21 IFSC World Cups) also made it to the finals. Her climbing style was secure through all the route, but when she made it to the final section of the wall she couldn’t find a good combination of moves to get to the top, and fell just one hold before the medal positions.
After Lučka, the podium was completed by Laura Rogora in second place and Luce Douady in third position. Since all of them are 18 years old or younger, we can safely say that sport climbing has an exciting future in the upcoming years.
As for the men, Martin Bergant qualified in 8th position in the semi-finals and successfully made it to his first Senior Lead Final. On this stage, he set the first high point of the competition (hold 34+) and remained at the top of the ranking until Alberto Ginés López, from Spain, jumped on the wall and fell after hold 38+. Martin was really close to the bronze medal, and although both him and Sascha Lehmann reached the same hold before falling. Sascha had more time left on the clock, which meant that he was awarded with 3rd place while Martin finished 4th. Nevertheless, this is not a bad result at all for the 23-year-old climber from Škofija Loka, who will surely deliver more good performances in the near future.
Luka Potocar also qualified for his First Senior Lead Final after an impressive performance in the semi-finals. However, when it was his turn to climb, he made a route reading mistake and went on the wrong path on the wall, and unfortunately he fell really early on.
No other surprises happened, and Adam Ondra successfully achieved the high point on the route at hold 45+, winning once again a Lead event and proving, for those of who still doubted it, that he can definitely qualify for the 2020 Olympics in next month’s event in Toulouse.
Janja Garnbret did not attend this event.
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