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Anyone Can Win – Men’s Qualifiers Concludes With Surprising Leaders

Qualifiers concluded last night with Team Japan once more leading the way. Team USA looks primed for strong semi-final

The second round of Men’s Boulder qualifiers missed Team Japan’s Tomoa Narasaki yesterday evening. After competing in Salt lake last week, the Japanese Olympian became ill and now isolates in America’s climbing capital. While he recovers, the second Salt Lake City Boulder World Cup continues with a surprising group of semi-finalists making up the men’s category.

Although nobody from Team Canada will compete in this afternoon’s semi-final, the US and Great Britain have great representation for this afternoon’s event. From America, Sean Bailey and Ross Fulkerson qualified in seventh and 11 each showing promise for this upcoming round.

Bailey will hope to earn another gold after his winning performance in Salt Lake last year, while Fulkerson will aim to improve upon his 10 place finish in Salt Lake last week. A final for Fulkerson would be a strong result.

Also from the USA, Olympian Colin Duffy and American boulderer Zach Galla each climbed into semis after a semis-missing qualifier last week. Duffy seems to be one of the favourites in this round of 20.

From across the Atlantic, Great Britain’s Youth World Champion Hamish McArthur qualified in seventh with teammates Max Milne and Nathan Phillips entering semis in sixth and 19 respectively.

Ross Fulkerson by Daniel Gajda

Although both the US and Britain have numerous athletes qualified for this weekend’s semi-final, Japan remains the team to beat. Japan’s Keita Dohi leads the men’s field with Korea’s Dohyun Lee, furthering Japan’s round-leading trend of the last three months. Yoshiyuki Ogata has the best chance of making podium based on each of his three medal earning competitions from the last few months. Ogata is currently the most consistent competitor in the men’s field.

With that said, teammate Kokoro Fujii is also up for that favourite title, however, he boasts less consistency than Ogata. After struggling in last week’s World Cup, Fujii will hopefully refocus for the semi-final round.

Although Japan will take six men to the semi-final, these athletes are spread across the whole category. As such, a less common top six was formed this weekend. Germany’s Yannick Flohé continues to climb well after his finals-earning performance last week, securing third in qualifiers.

Korea’s Jongwon Chon and Japan’s Rei Kawamata round out the top six, each with five tops. As with the women’s field, the setters produced a high-Top round with nine of the top 10 athletes securing all five of their qualifying boulder problems.

Semi-finals begins at 1:00pm EST.

Men advancing to semis

1 – Keita Dohi (JPN)

1 – Dohyun Lee (KOR)

3 – Yannick FLohé (GER)

3 – Rei Kawamata (JPN)

3 – Jongwon Chon (KOR)

6 – Maximillian Milne (GBR)

7 – Sean Bailey (USA)

7 – Hamish McArthur (GBR)

9 – Kokoro Fujii (JPN)

9 – Yuji Inoue (JPN)

11 – Ross Fulkerson (USA)

11 – Tomoaki Takata (JPN)

13 – Anze Peharc (SLO)

13 – Gregor Vezonik (SLO)

15 – Jakob Schubert (AUT)

15 – Yoshiyuki Ogata (JPN)

17 – Colin Duffy (USA)

17 – Zach Galla (USA)

19 – Nathan Phillips (GBR)

19 – Paul Jenft (FRA)

Featured image of Keita Dohi by Daniel Gajda.