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Eliska Adamovska Wins Gold at Her First Final

Eliska Adamovska went from darkhorse to gold medalist after a hard fought Final in Briançon. The world awaits the Olympic Games.

Amid rainstorms, upsets, and hard-fought wins, the fourth Lead World Cup of 2021 came to a close.

Dmitrii Fakirianov – Photo by Jan Virt

The competition began with Ukrainian Fedir Samoilov who, despite his lowest qualified position, would move high enough on the route to remain in contention for the majority of the round. Spanish Olympian Alberto Ginés López and would join Slovenian Luka Potocar much lower down on the route. Both athletes appeared fatigued by the taxing sequence in the overhang.

López did not appear surprised by this result and instead seemed to recognize the nature of his condition. He, along with many of the Olympians from these last World Cups, appeared focused on a greater goal. Although López has not yet earned a medal from this last season, his cumulative experience from each of these World Cup events will make the 18-year-old, after some rest, a candidate for Finals in Tokyo.

Moving beyond both Samoilov and López, Switzerland’s Sascha Lehmann and Czech climber Martin Stranik each entered the field tied to a certain expectation. The two athletes each exhibited great strengths, but Lehmann made a mistake circumnavigating the final angle change and fell to match Samoilov. Lehmann would take fifth, one place ahead of Samoilov, on countbacks from the previous round.

Stranik, on the other hand, would climb with precision through much of the route. Only falling due to a technical bump of the left hand, Stranik asserted his strength with a bronze medal. This result carried with it an air of consistency after his additional bronze last week in Chamonix.

Martin Stranik – Photo by Jan Virt

Where Stranik appeared to offer a level of consistency, Russia’s Dmitrii Fakirianov offered power. Although the route did offer technical sequences, it also appeared to require the athlete to maintain a high degree of strength for the final angle change. Making the podium necessitated a level of body tension that became difficult to replicate after a 10+ move sequence through the overhang.

The beautifully built route would see the Russian climber through to first position. Still, the arguable favourites for the field had yet to climb. Bailey took to the matts and after a strong performance in both Chamonix and Innsbruck, many thought it possible for the American to continue to a third consecutive Gold Medal.

Although he climbed well, he looked tired on the angle change. He was restricted by his reach through the middle section of the crux. The wide, shouldery span should have been possible for the athlete, but his right hand popped tumbling the climber off the podium and into fourth position.

With Fakirianov still in first, Italian Stefano Ghisolfi would look to earn his first gold medal of the 2021 season. He climbed slow and controlled, not appearing comfortable on the route until he reversed in the overhang to rest. Matched in a passive, bicycle bat-hang, the Italian got back his strength and entered the crux. Although he appeared moderately secure in his reach for a large fin on the volume-crux of the angle-change. His foot popped almost sending the athlete to the ground.

Stefano Ghisolfi – photo by Jan Virt

Mustering his strength, Ghisolfi slammed his left hand into the volume and controlled the swing off of a small grip and the flat face of a volume no one else had attempted to hold. Resecured, Ghisolfi rested, moved through the span and toward the gold. His attempt brought a spectacular display of determination, the likes of which describe the beauty of the sport.

With the Men’s results complete, the women took to the stage on what seemed an uncomfortable route. Although Ryu Nakagawa did qualify in eighth heading through to Finals, she would climb well into her Final round tying with American Ashima Shiraishi.

The two climbers would move beyond Bulgarian Aleksandra Totkova and Slovenian Lana Skusek who would ultimately fall three holds and five holds lower than the leaders. While Ashima did hold first by countbacks, she would lose her position to Slovenian Vita Lukan who, aside from Garnbret, has offered the greatest consistency for their team.

Adamovska – Photo by Jan Virt

Lukan’s result showed the difficulty of the climb, most of which appeared to be derived from having poor holds without much in the way of passive rests. Lukan would find her score of 29 demolished underneath the power of the Czech Republic’s Eliska Adamovska.

Adamovska looked on-form all weekend and after yesterday’s event. She was considered the darkhorse for Briançon’s Final round. Although she offers incredible strength, this competition became her first World Cup Final. Her lack of experience made her difficult to bet on. Adamovska ripped holds to the earth and proved her strength amid the star-studded field.

The Czech climber let out a scream of joy while being lowered, a happiness which could have only grown as her result became more obvious. Slovenian Lucka Rakovec appeared unhappy with the route and ultimately dropped into sixth position. Grossman would ultimately climb well enough to secure silver, pushing Lukan to third, but did not appear to find the flow required to surmount Adamovska. Still, they were separated by less than a single hold: 35+ to 36.

With the end of this competition, climbers will look to Sport Climbing’s Olympic debut on August 3.

Natalia Grossman – Photo by Jan Virt

Men’s Results

1 : Stefano Ghisolfi (ITA)

2 : Dmitrii Fakirianov (RUS)

3 : Martin Stranik (CZE)

4 : Sean Bailey (USA)

5 : Sascha Lehmann (SUI)

6 : Fedir Samoilov (UKR)

7 : Alberto Ginés López (ESP)

8 : Luka Potocar (SLO)

Women’s Results

1 : Eliska Adamovska (CZE)

2 : Natalia Grossman (USA)

3 : Vita Lukan (SLO)

4 : Ashima Shiraishi (USA)

5 : Ryu Nakagawa (JPN)

6 : Lucka Rakovec (SLO)

7 : Lana Skusek (SLO)

8 : Aleksandra Totkova (BUL)

Featured image of Eliska Adamovska by Jan Virt.

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