The last weekend of September was dedicated to the finals of the IFSC World Cup in Wujiang, China. Starting on Thursday and Friday the 22nd, the qualifiers for speed and lead took place, with the grand finale on Sunday September 24th.
Unfortunately, for this year’s event we didn’t get to see Team USA, with Alannah Kip the only Team Canada member, who didn’t make it past qualifiers.
Many of the European A-team such as Janja Garnbret, Adam Ondra, Oriane Bertone, Jakob Schubert, and Alex Megos also didn’t participate in the event.
On the bright side, the list of participants was filled with top-notch climbers especially from Japan and South Korea.
Spirits were high on the day of the finals, with Japanese Ai Mori and Sorato Anraku smashing the competition, both earning the gold medals! Both climbers put up a show especially in the lead finals where Ai was the only woman climber to reach the top of the route (36+) and young-blood Sorato Anraku climbing 10 holds higher than his competitor Shion Omata, who earned second place.
Although not taking part in three of the six Lead events this year, Mori placed on the podium each time. She won gold at this competition in Wujiang after winning silver in Innsbruck and Koper. She also had a very good World Championships, taking home gold in Lead and bronze in the new Olympic Combined style in Bern in August.
Regarding the overall board for the end of the season, Tokyo’s Olympic Campion Janja Garnbret secured her silver medal by collecting 3000 points from the events she participated at this year, even if she didn’t take part at the finals.
Janja’s compatriot Vita Lukan made a wonderful stand, staying close to Ai Mori and Natsuki Tanii in the qualifiers until the two managed to lead the scoring board as they approached the finals. On the lead overall scoreboard, Vita managed to earn Bronze just 275 points behind Janja.
Talking about the overall scores, Austrian Jessica Pilz had an excellent showing in Wujiang, earning silver in the finals lead reaching hold +31, 5 holds behind Ai Mori, and first place on the scoreboard, leading Janja with 235 points.
In the men’s section, the lead podium was Team Japan occupying the first 4 places, featuring Sorato Anraku with gold medal, the only one who reached the +39 hold, followed by Shion Omata, and Taisei Homma.
On the overall scoreboard, Anraku led the pack with a staggering 4300 points, 1650 points difference form Alex Megos who occupied the second position.
All in all, this last weekend of September was filled with positive emotions, tons of talent and athleticism, simply perfect for the end of a wonderful season, just what we needed before Paris 2024.
Featured image: © Dimitris Tosidis/IFSC