Home > Indoor Climbing

Five For First – Near Ties Separate Five Men at Meiringen World Cup

20 men are on their way to the Meiringen semi-final. Five athletes scored within attempts of one another

The first round the 2022 World Cup Series concluded this afternoon following an exceptional women’s qualifier. Not only did the women’s round bring Team Canada to the semi-final, it showed a new level of competition never seen before in the women’s field. Where the men’s category featured fewer dramatic surprises, one first placed Slovenian shocked everyone in by taking first in Group A.

Zan Lovenjak Sedar photo by Jan Virt

The afternoon’s competition featured 96 athletes that were ultimately divided into two separate groups. With 48 athletes to a group, competitors fought for a position in the top 10 of their respective fields. Together, the top 20 athletes, 10 from each group, qualified for the semi-final.

Slovenia’s Zan Lovenjak Sedar led group A with five Tops and five Zones in 11 attempts to Top. American Colin Duffy and Germany’s Alex Megos each climbed five Tops and five Zones as well, continuing the high-Top trend from the women’s qualification round. Japan’s Tomoa Narasaki and Yoshiyuki Ogata led Group B with four Tops and five Zones. France’s Mickael Mawem secured four Tops and four Zones, ultimately buttoning up the top 6 with five Olympians.

Although unquestionably strong, Sedar’s performance at qualifiers is somewhat anomalous. While he took third at Slovenian Nationals last week, it will be difficult to stave off the pressure from a hungry semi-final field.

Of the top five Olympians in the top six from qualifiers, Alex Megos’s qualification is the most surprising. Megos had a tough season last year, making many semi-finals but failing to secure a boulder podium. With that said, Megos remains one of the strongest climbers in the world and, without the pressure of Olympic training, he may flourish in 2022.

Alex Megos – photo by Jan Virt

To that effect, the removal of Olympic pressure will be the most interesting aspect of climbing in the 2022 World Cup Series. Each of the world’s best athletes returned to their favourite disciplines this year.

By focusing their efforts, athletes should progress quickly in their respective disciplines, all while benefiting from the previous year’s training. The Olympic postponement forced athletes through at least two rounds of high-intensity year-long training blocks, both in advance to the Games’ original 2020 date, and in the subsequent year preceding last summer’s event.

With that said, Olympians are not the only folks to look out for in this upcoming year. Britain’s Maximillian Milne, American Ben Hanna, and France’s Mejdi Schalck could each become contentious given the right round. Schalck proved himself with a silver medal in Salt Lake last year, and Milne might become a regular in finals if he can only nail down a consistent performance.

Milne exhibited great improvement in British competitions last year and should be one to watch in these coming events. Furthermore, it is also worth noting that the defending World Champion Kokoro Fujii could come from his low-ranked 17 position to take first in the subsequent rounds if given hard boulders. It is also worth noting that Ondra was not present at this year’s season opener.

Max Milne – photo by Jan Virt

The men’s semi-final begins at 5:00 am EST on Sunday April 10. Women’s semi-final is tomorrow, April 9, at 5:00 am EST. Watch the women’s semi-final below.

Men Advancing to Semis

1 – Zan Lovenjak Sudar (SLO)

1 – Tomoa Narasaki (JPN)

3 – Colin Duffy (USA)

3 – Yoshiyuki Ogata (JPN)

5 – Alex Megos (GER)

5 – Mickael Mawem (FRA)

7 – Maximillian Milne (GBR)

7 – Gregor Vezonik (SLO)

9 – Paul Jenft (FRA)

9 – Ben Hanna (USA)

11 – Mejdi Schalck (FRA)

11 – Keita Dohi (JPN)

13 – Manuel Cornu (FRA)

13 – Nicolai Uznik (AUT)

15 – Gholamali Baratzadeh (IRI)

15 – Anze Peharc (SLO)

17 – Kokoro Fujii (JPN)

17 – Tomoaki Takata (JPN)

19 – Jernej Kruder (SLO)

19 – Nicolas Collin (BEL)

Featured Image of Colin Duffy by Jan Virt.