Keita Dohi (JPN) and Sandra Lettner (AUT) became Sport Climbing’s first Youth Olympic Games gold medal lists this week in Buenos Aires, and Austria and Japan won four medals altogether.

Vita Lukan (SLO) and Shuta Tanaka (JPN), Sam Avezou (FRA) and Laura Lammer (AUT) climbed to silver and bronze medals.

42 youth stars from 25 countries and five continents competed in Combined qualifications on Sunday and Monday, the first Youth Olympians of Sport Climbing, Athletes twice raced for top times on the Speed wall, pushed their bodies to the limit on 4 short Bouldering problems and endured pumped forearms on a long Lead route.

It is over! For climbing, the @buenosaires2018 @youtholympics is done and dusted. What did we learn? We learnt that we have the spectacle, the ability and the emotion to stand proud as an Olympic sport. We learnt that the crowd loved us, that the sun always shines in Buenos Aires and that any competition lives or dies on the efforts of the setters, officials and volunteers. More than anything, we learnt we belong here! Thanks to everyone who made this event so special, especially the hard working team at @ifsclimbing who have been through so much to get us here. See you in Tokyo 2020! 😊 #thecircuitclimbing #thecircuitclimbingishere #bouldering #climbing #speedclimbing #ifscofficialphotographer

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Ranked by the combination of their results in each discipline, the top six women and top six men advanced to Combined finals in front of an enthusiastic crowd at the Urban Park in Buenos Aires. Valentina Aguado was not among them, but the Argentina native put on a show for her home crowd.

Quick steps in Speed, last second efforts in Bouldering and short rests in Lead, the smallest movements made the difference in the women’s final on Tuesday. Lammer raced smoothly on the 15-metre Speed wall in the quarterfinal and edged teammate Lettner in a close semi-final to face Elena Krasovskaia (RUS).

Early slips proved costly for Krasovskaia, and Lammer regained her footing high on the wall to place first. For third place, Lettner got off to a fast start against Hannah Meul (GER) and never gave up the lead Blank volumes with tiny foot chips and sparse hand holds, dynamic starting moves, balance and power problems in Bouldering challenged the six women finalists, who had four minutes to top each of the four problems.

Lettner, Vita Lukan (SLO) and Mao Nakamura (JPN) found solutions to all four problems, Lettner creeping to the top hold with five seconds left on the third problem. Just one top attempt separated them, and Lukan placed first with a flash at the end.

Time made the difference on the forearm-pumping Lead route when Lettner, Lukan, Krasovskaia and Meul showed incredible endurance by rising to the very top of the towering Lead wall. Lettner, six seconds faster on the Lead route, tied Lukan in the Combined ranking and won the first gold medal for Sport Climbing at the Youth Olympic Games by placing better than Lukan in two of the three disciplines, the Combined tie-breaker.

Bouldering winner Lukan won the silver medal and Lammer, tied as well with Meul in the Combined ranking, claimed Austria’s second medal in Buenos Aires by scoring better than Meul in Bouldering and Speed. Meul placed fourth with the quickest top in Lead.

A new day, a new set of game changers set their eyes on Youth Olympic medals in the men’s final on Wednesday. Avezou, fastest among losing athletes in the qualification races, rebounded in the next race against YuFei Pan (CHN) and didn’t slip once. Exciting races for 1st and 3rd place concluded the Speed final. Pan held on to slap the pad less than two tenths of a second before Filip Schenk (ITA). Dohi scored only times below eight seconds in the round but Avezou, behind at the start of the race, caught up just in time to place 1st in Speed by four hundredths of a second.

All six finalists topped the first two Bouldering problems in the late morning sun, and Pan and Schenk took an early lead by doing so on their first attempts. Their streak of tops ended on the slab problem, and Dohi took advantage of the opportunity by inching his way to the top hold on his first try.

Petar Ivanov (BUL) and Tanaka stuck the big opening swing of the final problem which bested Avezou, but only Dohi and Schenk connected all the power moves. The sole athlete with four tops, Dohi took the lead in the Combined ranking with one discipline remaining.

The finalists put on a show of endurance on the men’s Lead route, which culminated in a powerful traverse at the top just as foot holds disappeared. Pan executed well-placed heel-hooks to hang on for the first top but missed out on a medal in Buenos Aires.

Tanaka repeated the feat immediately after Pan in quicker time, putting him in good standing for a medal. Avezou andSchenk were in contention for gold until they fell at the concluding crux sequence.

Dohi, already the first ever men’s gold medal list in Sport Climbing at the Youth Olympic Games, rose to the penultimate hold in front of the cheering crowd for good measure. Silver medal list Tanaka made it two Japanese athletes on the podium with his quick ascent, two years before the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and Avezou won France the bronze medal.

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