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Jernej Kruder and Miho Nonaka Bouldering Season Champions

The final bouldering World Cup onf 2018 took place in Munich this past weekend. The following is the IFSC post-comp report.

Jernej Kruder (SLO) and Miho Nonaka (JPN) became Bouldering season champions today at the Munich Olympic Stadium, host of the 7th and last IFSC Bouldering World Cup of 2018, and Kruder’s Slovenian teammates Janja Garnbret and Gregor Vezonik won the final gold medals.

The women’s final featured a nail-biting head-to-head contest between season leader Nonaka and 4-time season champion Akiyo Noguchi (JPN), with Noguchi needing to place 1st or 2nd and ahead of Japanese compatriot Nonaka to take the 2018 season title. She started strong by solving the dynamic start of F1 and completing the problem with 45 seconds remaining, but Nonaka and reigning Combined season champion Garnbret succeeded in fewer attempts.

All three athletes flashed F2, and Nonaka maintained an edge over Noguchi on F3 by sticking the opening dyno and latching the dual-texture finishing hold on her first attempt. Noguchi kept the pressure on Nonaka on the fourth and last problem, showing her experience by making a quick flash. After five months of competition, the Bouldering season title came down to one final moment.

Nonaka kept her composure and flashed the final problem to beat Noguchi on top attempts, her first season title after finishing among the top five athletes for five years. Noguchi placed 2nd in the season rankings, winning more gold medals (3) than any other athlete, and Fanny Gibert (FRA) placed 3rd. Scoring a perfect four flashes in finals, Garnbret claimed the final gold medal of the season in Munich.

Slovenia exceled in semi-finals and the men’s final as well. Kruder needed to finish ahead of Tomoa Narasaki (JPN) in semi-finals if Narasaki placed 9th or better, and Kruder accomplished exactly that earlier today. The IFSC World Cup competitor since 2007 set himself up to qualify for finals and surpass Narasaki (9th) by completing the first top of M2.

Narasaki matched Kruder with the most Bouldering medals in 2018 (4) and stood alongside Japanese teammate Rei Sugimoto on the men’s Bouldering season podium. In the final, Kruder’s teammate Vezonik achieved a lead he would never give up, flashing the technical first problem which prevented every other finalist from scoring four zone points. Kruder, Munich bronze medallist Jakob Schubert (AUT) and Yoshiyuki Ogata (JPN) found different solutions to the dynamic start of M2 and Yuji Fujiwaki (JPN) executed with precision for the sole top of M3, but none could stop Vezonik.

He promptly flashed the concluding power problem for his first IFSC World Cup victory. Already season champion, Kruder flashed the final problem with the crowd cheering behind him for the silver medal in Munich, and Schubert flashed to earn the bronze by zone attempts.

Thanks to three medals and a double victory in Munich, Slovenia secured 2nd place in the team Bouldering season ranking with 1344 points. Japan, dominant all season, topped the team ranking for the fifth straight season with 2269 points. France advanced two athletes to finals in Munich to hold off Austria for 3rd place. For the complete Bouldering rankings, please click here.

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