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An enthusiastic crowd was already gathered early at the IFSC hall for the opening day of the Canadian Bouldering World Cup, eager to see the best climbers in the world show what they can do. The morning had dawn with a grey and overcast sky, but as the first women were starting on the problems, the sun came out and humidity rose, with the large crowd assembled, it wasn’t just the action that was heating up.
The heavy hitters were out early, with world ranked #1 Anna Stohr (AUT) the first climber out, followed shortly by Akiyo Noguchi (JPN), Alex Puccio (USA), Juliane Wurm (GER), Melissa Le Neve (FRA) and Shauna Coxsey (GB); the women occupying the top of the world ranking.
Befitting her stature, Stohr easily cruised through the first qualification round with only Problem 4, a steep 45deg wall with technically complicated and tension intensive opening moves, giving her trouble.
Her chief rival for the win, Akiyo Noguchi, was the first women to send the problem. In contrast to the other four problems, Noguchi was visibly working as she fought her way through the lower moves. Melissa Le Neve was the only other women to top all five problem, vaulting her and Noguchi to 2nd and 1st place on the leaderboard,
But Stohr, Shauna Coxsey and Alex Puccio look to be close behind the duo and should feature in the final. Commenting after her round, “My goal is to make finals. It is always quite a battle to get one of the six place (in finals), and then I know that everything can happen.”
The surprise from the pre-competition favourites was Juliane Wurm, who seem to struggle with the dynamic and powerful problems the setters have created, managing to top out on only 2 of the 5 problems, which was still good enough to get her through to the next round.
Newly crowned National Champion Kerry Briggs leads the charge of the Canadian women into the semi final round, qualifying in 12th place, followed by team veteran Stacy Weldon (16th) and Elise Sethna (17th), who was the 2012 Bouldering National Champion. Commenting on her performance afterwards, Kerry said, “It feels really good, I wasn’t very confident that I could make semi-finals, so that’s pretty exciting, it feels really great, I am really tired.” Looking to the future, Briggs said her performance today makes her “really, really motivated to train hard for next year cause I can see so many things to work on throughout the next year… if I can just remember this feeling then next year I will be a lot stronger.
Weldon and Sethna both have significant international experience compared to some of their team mates, and it showed. Weldon in particular, looked calm and methodical as she worked her way through the problems, and did not look rattled by moves that shut her down.
Please go to the IFSC official site for Full Results