Canada’s Alannah Yip came out first for the semi-final round in Moscow, and she looked super strong. The first problem was quite powerful and Yip was all over it, flashing the zone. She couldn’t quite stick the long lock-off to the second last hold but fans were not phased. As she moved through the problems, though, Yip got shut down despite looking on form. Her effort on W4 was especially impressive as she managed a hard left heel-hook to secure herself another zone.
Yip finished the round with only two zones and spectators must have been puzzled. That is, until, time and again, the women kept falling. The first top in women’s Semis was not until Lucka Rakovec, who climbed ninth, sent W1. It became clear that the round was especially hard and it put Yip’s performance into perspective: she had crushed it. Those two zones landed her in the top ten, a 9th place finish. Futaba Ito advanced to Finals with only three zones.
In stark contrast to the semi-final round, Women’s Finals were really too easy. Co-commentator Katja Kadic (SLO) said it was perhaps more enjoyable for the crowd to see more tops, but many fans will have been disappointed by the predictable sends and lack of diverse/hard moves, which really give competitors a chance to prove themselves. For example, W4 was oddly similar to W3, both featuring a combo jump followed by a right arm press. It is not hard to argue that separation based on number of tops is more satisfying than separation based on number of attempts on a combo move, not to mention on a count-back to Semis, which is what landed Shauna Coxsey ahead of Fanny Gibert on the podium.
To be clear, the round still had many entertaining moments, from Gibert’s amazing demonstration of flexibility on W1 to first-time finalist, 17-year-old, Rakovec’s flash of boulder three. And watching Garnbret flash the jumps on boulders three and four, which led to her clean sweep of the round, and first place, was undeniably impressive.
With many usual suspects landing below the 6th place cut-off after Semis, Men’s Finals featured some lesser known names. That is, except for two: Adam Ondra, who dominated the semi-final round with tops of all four problems, and Jernej Kruder, last year’s overall bouldering champion.
The round was beautifully set. The problems were varied and just hard enough to separate the finalists in a cascading number of sends. It was exciting, too, with the final rankings determined by the last boulder, and the last climber. It was a tenuous moment when Ondra came out as he only had two tries to take first place away from Kruder. In the end, he would only get the zone, which landed him in second place.
Even though he climbed it first, you could tell that Kruder’s send of M4 would be hard to match – it was such an impressive display of power and climbing skill. In fact, Kruder was really on fire the whole round, with his send of M3 equally exciting. Now if only he would match the finishing holds a little faster before celebrating…
Women’s Finals Results
1. Janja Garnbret (SLO)
2. Shauna Coxsey (GBR)
3. Fanny Gibert (FRA)
4. Lucka Rakovec (SLO)
5. Jessica Pilz (AUT)
6. Futaba Ito (JPN)
Men’s Finals Results
1. Jernej Kruder (SLO)
2. Adam Ondra (CZE)
3. Yoshiyuki Ogata (JPN)
4. Anze Peharc (SLO)
5. Rei Kawamata (JPN)
6. Vadim Timonov (RUS)