The opening ceremonies for the 2019 IFSC World Championships will take place in Hachioji, Japan, this Saturday evening. The competition kicks off with bouldering qualifications for the women on Sunday, August 11, followed by the Men’s qualifiers on Monday, August 12.

Livestreaming of bouldering Semi-finals and Finals will be on Tuesday, August 13:
9am (Monday 5pm PT, 8pm ET): Women Bouldering Semi-Finals
12pm (Monday 8pm PT, 11pm ET): Men Bouldering Semi-Finals
5pm (1am PT, 4am ET): Women Bouldering Finals
8pm (4am PT, 7am ET): Men Bouldering Finals

Canadian Athletes

Six Canadians will be competing in the bouldering event: Alannah Yip, Rebecca Frangos, Allison Vest, Sean McColl, Jason Holowach and Lucas Uchida.

While McColl did not have his best bouldering World Cup season this year, he ended on a high note in Vail, Colorado, where he finished in 6th place. If he can ride the momentum from that event, as well as his success in the Lead World Cup season – he has made Finals at two out of three events so far – then he could do very well at these Championships. That said, it’s one of the harder competitions to predict because the field is so deep and many competitors, including McColl, have been focused on Lead fitness until recently.

Sean McColl in Vail, 2019. Photo courtesy of IFSC

Make no mistake, however, the pressure is on. Doing well in the Bouldering Championships would be a huge step towards McColl’s ultimate goal: qualifying for the combined Olympic Selection event. Based on the season so far, he has a very good chance of placing in the top ranks in Lead, whereas those chances aren’t as good in Speed. A strong finish in Bouldering would give McColl the edge he needs for the combined ranking.

Alannah Yip had one of her best bouldering World Cup seasons to date this year, with a final ranking of 12th. She, too, is vying for one of the 20 spots to compete in the Olympic Selection event, and because bouldering is her strongest discipline, the stakes are very high for her to do well. That said, Yip is renowned for being a calm, confident competitor and so it’s very likely the importance of this round will simply help her rise to the occasion.

Alannah Yip in Meiringen WC, 2018. Photo courtesy of IFSC

The Women

The women have been relatively consistent this season in bouldering. The most consistent of all, of course, was Janja Garnbret, who won six World Cups and became the first athlete to sweep a World Cup season. But Akiyo Noguchi was never far behind, along with Fanny Gibert. The two veteran athletes are ranked 2nd and 3rd, respectively, in the 2019 bouldering world ranking, as they were in 2018.

Noguchi’s compatriots Futaba Ito and Miho Nonaka are also threats in the competition. Despite some setbacks due to shoulder injuries, Nonaka has eyes on the combined event so she will be going hard at these Championships. Likewise for Slovenia’s Lucka Rakovec, who could do very well, based on a strong bouldering World Cup season. Fellow Slovenian Katja Kadic, currently ranked 8th, is not on the starter list. But two household names are: Petra Klingler and Shauna Coxsey. Both of these powerhouses are names to look for next week. No doubt, it’s going to be a great show.

Miho Nonaka in Vail, 2019. Photo courtesy of IFSC

The Men

Where to begin with the men? The list of potential finalists in men’s bouldering is quite long. The Japanese team is super strong this year with athletes ranked first, third and fifth: Tomoa Narasaki, Yoshiyuki Ogata, and Kokoru Fujii. Adam Ondra is an obvious threat, along with Jongwon Chon. Anze Peharc and Jan Hojer have also had a great bouldering season. 7th in the ranks, Aleksey Rubtsov, is not registered to compete.

Slovenia’s Jernej Kruder didn’t have the dream season he had last year, but the 28-year-old has a gold medal from the Moscow World Cup in April earlier this year and clearly has the potential to make podium at these Championships. Finally, last year’s winner of the combined Championships, and an amazing all-around athlete, Jakob Schubert is always a threat.

Jongwon Chon in Vail, 2019. Photo courtesy of IFSC

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