The final event of the 2021 IFSC World Cup Calendar concluded this weekend. On October 10, 57 climbers competed across seven categories in Los Angeles, California.
Sender One pulled out all the stops for this conclusive event, ultimately presenting six countries with gold medals. Although Canada would not win gold, Kelowna’s Shamus Boulianne took bronze in the men’s RP3 final.
Boulianne climbs primarily at a boulder-only facility in Kelowna making him a unique competitor among his field. Joining him, Jared Lenahan and Micah Winkle took second and first respectively. They earned two more medals for the host country. The RP3 categories joined the B3 categories in the master level competition and featured strong results from across the field.
The master level competitions differ from the following categories due to few participants. Although these events did still hold qualification and finals rounds, they lacked enough athletes to make the event competitive between rounds.
The World Cup events opened with the B1 category. Climbing through visual impairment, B1 athletes took to the progressively steeper climbing of the men’s route. Moving through sloping Squadra volumes, Flatholds and more positive polyurethane grips, the results stood with Japan in the lead.
53-year-old multi-decorated athlete Kobayashi Koichiro secured his first gold medal of the season. The five-time world champion defeated Romania’s Ravan Nedu and Britain’s Jesse Dufton by six holds and nine holds respectively. These two athletes also climbed a strong competition, ultimately earning silver and bronze medals.
Following Men’s B1, the Women’s AL2 category kicked off with South Africa’s Emily Gray. Gray climbed well on the Men’s B3 Final route. She climbed high, a move past 21 holds earning a plus, but failing to secure 22. The USA’s Hannah McFadden earned that 22 hold and secure her first gold medal in her first Paraclimbing World Cup. Germany’s Jacqueline Fritz concluded the route with bronze. Notably, the men’s B3 category and the women’s AL2 category shared a route.
The Men’s RP1 category came next, headed by Elliot Nguyen. Nguyen moved through the blocky route, climbing high into the arena. Falling, the competition moved along, ultimately reaching a boiling point between the round’s most anticipated competitors. As veterans of this year’s podiums, Austria’s Angelino Zeller and Germany’s Korbinian Franck provided intense competition. They both placed on the podium of each competition they participated in this year.
In the end, the 2021 World Champion Angelino Zeller took home gold. Franck secured silver just ahead of bronze-placed American Tanner Cislaw.
With yet another unique route, the men’s AL2 category began. The competitors’ lower-leg impairments did not appear to slow down their climbing as athlete after athlete flowed through the challenging climb. Belgian Frederik Leys managed his first gold medal of his career, adding to his silver earned at the Moscow World Championships. His recent consistency bodes well for 2022. Although the US did not win the round, two of their athletes show promise for this upcoming season. Jake Sanchez and Colin Torpey finished second and third respectively.
Once more taking to the route shared by men’s B1 and women’s AL2 categories, the women’s RP2 category began their quest up the steep angle. As with the men’s AL2 category, a battle took place between Austria’ Jasmin Plank and Belgium’s Pavitra Vandenhoven. These athletes tied in the qualification round, leaving everything on the line for the Final route. In the end, Plank defeated Vandenhoven. They took gold and silver respectively while the USA’s Emily Seelenfreund took bronze.
The women’s AU2 category also climbed on the same steep route as the preceding category, with France’s Solenne Piret earning her fourth gold of the season. Italy’s Lucia Capovilla took second as Maureen Beck of the US took third.
Finally, the men’s RP3 category concluded the World Cup level competitions with a victory from Israel’s Mor Michael Sapir. Sapir barely missed the top of the route, but this small mistake did not stop his progression to the top of the podium. He took his third gold of the year. A notable conclusion to the event found India’s Manikandan Kumar and America’s Brian Zarzuela with a tie for second position.
Featured image of Frederik Leys by Daniel Gajda.