The Slovenia World Cup Stage of the IFSC circuit was a weekend filled with unforgettable moments, extraordinary displays of athleticism, and a testament to the indomitable spirit of climbers.
The highlight of the event held in Koper was climbing sensation Janja Garnbret, who took home the gold medal in the women’s lead event. This competition marked a significant moment for Garnbret. She climbed in front of her home crowd and showcased her extraordinary skills, getting her long-awaited “revenge” after ending in second place in 2022 at the same event in front of Japanese climber Ai Mori by 3 points.
She faced tough competition from athletes around the world, including Ai Mori of Japan and Laura Rogora of Italy. However, Garnbret’s determination and sheer talent prevailed as she secured her spot on the podium after being the only woman in lead able to clip the top chain. It’s been a close fight as in the semis Janja and Mori had the same score (35+) and in the finals, Mori reached the 44+ hold which no other climber in the competition got to.
The atmosphere in the arena was electric as the home crowd cheered Garnbret on, providing her with an extra boost of energy and confidence. The support from the spectators was evident as they witnessed their beloved athlete conquer the crux, which frankly gave us some emotions, displaying unparalleled agility and mental fortitude.
While Garnbret stole the headlines, it is important to acknowledge the achievements of other climbers as well. In the men’s lead event, Japan’s Sorato Anraku delivered a sensational performance, securing the gold medal. Not far behind, the United States’ Jesse Grupper showcased his climbing prowess and secured the silver medal.
Grupper’s silver-medal win is significant for the US climbing community, as it highlights American climbers’ growing presence and competitiveness on the international stage. His place on the podium represents not only a ton of inspiration for the US climbing community but also a great comeback for Jesse. This was his first final this season, as he had had a tough year battling a bad knee injury.
Despite his bad knee, Grupper rocketed to what first seemed to be the gold medal, reaching the 42+ hold and being overtaken in the last minute by Japan’s Sorato Anraku, who simply breezed through the slopey-hold section, winning the gold medal.
Spaniard Alberto Ginés López occupied third place in men’s lead, and one of the crowd’s favorite, Alex Megos, landed in fifth place after reaching the 21+ hold, just a couple of moves behind López.
On the female podium, Janja was joined by her conational Vita Lukan in third place and Japan’s Ai Mori in second place. The turnout was kind of expected given the rivalry between Garnbret and Mori, with, the Japanese climber having beaten Janja on her home turf last year.
So to sum it up, it was a weekend of triumph and redemption at the Slovenia World Cup, the penultimate stop in the IFSC circuit before Wujiang, China.
Featured Image: Photo by Fancy Beaver CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons