The Men’s Boulder semi-final began this morning after yesterday’s final. The exhilarating round brought Team USA’s Natalia Grossman to her fourth consecutive gold medal. Her dominating display over the 2022 season inspires, and today, Team Japan hopes to retain its similar streak of dominant performances across the World Cup Series.
The round began with a delicate, then powerful M1. Topped a total of three times over the course of the round, the boulder set the stage for what would become a difficult semi-final. While boulders two and four were sent relatively consistently, M3 saw only one top from Germany’s Yannick Flohé.
The crimpy power problem pushed most every athlete off before Zone, and allowed only Japan’s Narasaki and Korea’s Jongwon Chon to this scored mid-way point. The difficulty of the round contrasted with yesterday’s high-top women’s semi-final. For bouldering fans, the difficult moves made for an exciting round in Brixen.
In the last four World Cups, Japan has earned nine of the 12 available medals. This demonstration of strength reached a head in Japan’s sweep of the Seoul podium and in Japan’s qualification of five athletes to that same six person final.
The team has numerous podium-level competitors, headed by Tomoa Narasaki, Kokoro Fujii, and Yoshiyuki Ogata. Although Fujii did not make finals this time around, Naraskai and Ogata will continue to pressure the international field. They are joined by teammate Meichi Narasaki.
Back for his second World Cup final of 2022, Meichi led Team Japan into the Brixen final with three Tops and three Zones. His second-place qualification for finals falls one spot behind Flohé but shows the younger Narasaki brother as a talented competition climber. His brother Tomoa followed while Yoshiyuki Ogata made his fifth consecutive World Cup final in today’s competition.
Ogata remains the favourite after winning a medal in each of his last four World Cup participations. Tomoa Narasaki’s performance is more difficult to predict on account of his recovering from COVID following the first Salt Lake World Cup.
Still, while Japan seems potent, the best climbing of the day came from the German finalist Yannick Flohé. After making his first finals of 2022 in Salt Lake City, the German had trouble holding his strength through to the end of the competition. If finsls is a similarly powerful round to semis, Flohé may win the competition. Otherwise, more technical problems could prove difficult. Still, Flohé has held first over the length of the competition. If Germany’s Hannah Meul is anyone to go off of, persisting at the top across rounds speaks well of a person’s chance in finals.
Men Advancing to Finals
1 – Yannick Flohé (GER)
2 – Meichi Narasaki (JPN)
3 – Tomoa Narasaki (JPN)
4 – Maximillian Milne (GBR)
5 – Yoshiyuki Ogata (JPN)
6 – Dohyun Lee (KOR)
Featured image of Yannick Flohé by Lena Drapella.