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Ondra Is Out! Stunning Qualifiers in SLC World Cup

The second Salt Lake City World Cup is underway, with semi-finals set to begin at 1:00 pm EST. The top of each field is separated by attempts.

Just before Bouldering began in Salt Lake City, Czech Champion Adam Ondra decided to pull out of the competition. The seasoned competitor and outdoor climber mentioned a minor shoulder injury that left the athlete with second thoughts regarding the second event.

Natalia Grossman – photo by Daniel Gajda

Although Ondra will not join the Men’s field, he has reduced the friction for other athletes looking to walk away with Gold. Tomoa Narasaki and Kokoro Fujii ultimately qualified in second and first positions going into the semi-final round. They will be joined by three other teammates, re-establishing Japan’s dominance in Bouldering.

While Japan does look strong, a few other favourite names qualified for the event. Great Britain’s Alex Waterhouse put on a strong performance with five tops and four zones, while 17-year-old phenom Mejdi Schalck retains his trend of making each and every semi-finals he competes in. After a second-place finish in Salt Lake last weekend, the world will wonder whether the young French climber can retain his strength coming into semis.

The Americans performed well in the qualification round, taking Nathaniel Coleman, Zach Galla, and Sean Bailey into Semis. Naturally, spectators will find Alex Megos amid the field, awaiting a run-away performance the world has wanted from the German Olympian.

Canadians will enjoy watching their Olympian, Sean McColl, compete in semi-finals this weekend. After a tough competition seven days ago, McColl will look to trust his experience and move through the challenging round within the top six positions.

The Women’s field has set itself up for a close semi-finals round. While Slovenia’s Janja Garnbret did qualify in first position, Miho Nonaka, Natalia Grossman, and Futaba Ito joined the World Champion in completing all five boulders. Nonaka only fell behind Garnbret by one attempt to zone, while Grossman only fell behind Nonaka by one attempt to top.

Kokoro Fujii – photo by Daniel Gajda

Although Nonaka has had a slower start this season, her last three results in Meiringen, Salt Lake last weekend, and this weekend have shown her to be an extremely proficient competitor. Her third-place finish in speed would suggest that she has become a capable all-round athlete. Garnbret will have to be careful not to fall behind in the Olympics, regardless of how today goes.

To that effect, Grossman will look to take Gold again this weekend. After not competing in Speed, last-weekend’s Champion will have rested as much as possible to take on Slovenia’s powerhouse. Grossman has established herself at the top of her field.

Like in the Men’s field, Team Japan continued to dominate in the Women’s category. With a total of five athletes moving on to semi-finals, Team Japan will represent one quarter of the semi-final field.

Although Team Japan does look on form, the Slovenians and the Americans also look to be in strong form. Home-crowd favourites Brooke Raboutou and Kylie Cullen will join Grossman in the semi-final round. After flashing Euro-trash this week, Raboutou appears stronger and stronger.

Although qualifying relatively low down, Team France’s Oriane Bertone will also move on to semi-finals. While many might view this as a sign of fatigue from last weekend’s competition, Bertone has made it a habit to qualify low and finish high upon the podium. So far, few athletes show signs of fatigue.

The difficulty of the boulders in the next round will become a point of interest. Although separation did occur last weekend, the boulders will have to be more difficult to separate the top of the field by a greater margin. As the field looks polished and arguably stronger this weekend, spectators will hope route setters have offered these athletes a challenge befitting their ability.

Semi-finals will begin at 1:00 pm EST.

Men Advancing to Semi-Finals:

1 : Kokoro Fujii (JPN)
2 : Tomoa Narasaki (JPN)
3 : Anze Peharc (SLO)
4 : Nicolai Uznik (AUT)
5 : Sohta Amagasa (JPN)
6 : Simon Lorenzi (BEL)
7 : Alex Waterhouse (GBR)
8 : Nicolas Collin (BEL)
8 : Mejdi Schalck (FRA)
10 : Alexander Megos (GER)
11 : Nathaniel Coleman (USA)
12 : Zach Galla (USA)
13 : Sean Bailey (USA)
14 : Rei Sugimoto (JPN)
15 : Yannick Flohe (GER)
16 : Yoshiyuki Ogata (JPN)
17 : Sean McColl (CAN)
18 : Max Milne (GBR)
19 : Alexey Rubtsov (RUS)
20 : Manu Cornu (FRA)

Women Advancing to Semi-Finals:

1 : Janja Garnbret (SLO)
2 : Miho Nonaka (JPN)
3 : Natalia Grossman (USA)
4 : Futaba Ito (JPN)
5 : Akiyo Noguchi (JPN)
6 : Camilla Moroni (ITA)
7 : Fanny Gibert (FRA)
8 : Brooke Raboutou (USA)
8 : Ryu Nakagawa (JPN)
10 : Kyra Condie (USA)
11 : Stasa Gejo (SRB)
12 : Katja Debevec (SLO)
12 : Afra Honig (GER)
14 : Petra Klingler (SUI)
15 : Kylie Cullen (USA)
16 : Vita Lukan (SLO)
17 : Oriane Bertone (FRA)
18 : Hannah Meul (GER)
19 : Mao Nakamura (JPN)
20 : Franziska Sterrer (AUT)