Last night concluded the qualification round of Salt Lake City’s first Bouldering World Cup. Although the event was not live streamed, climbers tuned in via their IFSC WC Series phone application. The event was filled with upsets and hard-won comebacks.
First off the line was Japanese Olympian Miho Nonaka. As mentioned in the pre-game, Nonanaka became one of the few competitors that could contest Janja Garnbret. Without Garnbret at this event, Nonaka qualified in first position. After a difficult competition in Meiringen and another difficult competition in Japan, the competitor has rebounded to take her place atop the field.
Team USA’s Brooke Raboutou had a strong return to performance after a difficult competition in Switzerland. Qualifying in fourth position, Raboutou asserted herself as one of the field’s strongest.
Still, the strongest performance from Team USA did come from Natalia Grossman. The young American has become the most consistently well-performing competitor from the United States. She qualified in second position.
Other notable names to make it through the qualification round come from France, Great Britain, and the United States.
France’s Fanny Gibert will compete in the semi-final round. She will be joined by her teammate, the 16-year-old phenom Oriane Bertone, who only qualified in 18 position.
A lesser known Holly Toothill became Great Britain’s only athlete to qualify for the semi-final round. This comes as a surprise to those expecting Shauna Coxsey to return to her place on the podium.
Finally, the Americans seized their home-field advantage qualifying both Megan Lynch, Sienna Kopf and Kylie Cullen. Perhaps one of the greatest upsets from this competition comes from the absence of their teammate Kyra Condie.
As is the case with every competition these days, the Olympians do follow a schedule unique to other athletes. Although Condie will have to wait until next week’s World Cup to compete again, perhaps this week will give the Olympian rest.
Much like the Women’s field, the men’s field offered a unique mix of usual suspects and unusual additions.
For those that watched the Meiringen World Cup, they will remember the head-to-head battle between Japan’s Yoshiyuki Ogata and Czech climber Adam Ondra. The exciting competition had viewers on the edge of their seat, not knowing who might win until the last attempt of the night.
This competition might offer a repeat of that event as the two have qualified in first and second positions. With that said, Ondra held first position through all three rounds in Meiringen. In Salt Lake, Ogata has already broken that trend.
German Alex Megos appeared back on form last night qualifying in fifth position. He joined Michael Piccolruaz and Jakob Schubert, both of whom will be happy to have qualified for semi-finals.
France represented well in the men’s category with climber Mejdi Schalck taking third position into semis. Joining him, teammate Michael Mawem, France’s bouldering powerhouse, qualified in sixth position.
Americans Colin Duffy and Sean Bailey also qualified well and will look forward to a semi-finals round. Both relatively new to the World Cup circuit, they appear to be making great progress.
The round, however, was ultimately dominated by three teams: Germany, Japan, and the United States. Megos, Christopher Schweiger, Jan Hojer, and Philipp Martin each qualified for the semi-final round. With two female athletes, Alma Bestvater and Hannah Meul, also qualifying for the next round, the Germans made up six of the 40 available positions.
Team Japan also had strong showing, as per usual, with six of their athletes also heading to semi-finals. The Americans joined the Japanese and Germans with seven athletes qualifying for Saturday’s first round of competition.
The rounds themselves saw an unbelievable number of tops, but ultimately did create good separation. With that said, the semi-final round will have to offer another level of difficulty.
Furthermore, next weekend’s stronger field may require a more challenging qualification round, but that which happens next remains to be seen.
The semi-final round will begin at 1:00 pm EST. You can watch it here:
The 20 Men Qualified For Semi-Finals
1 : Yoshiyuki Ogata (JPN)
2 : Adam Ondra (CZE)
3 : Rei Sugimoto (JPN)
4 : Mejdi Schalck (FRA)
5 : Alexander Megos (GER)
6 : Mickael Mawem (FRA)
7 : Nicolai Uznik (AUT)
8 : Colin Duffy (USA)
9 : Sohta Amagasa (JPN)
10 : Anze Peharc (SLO)
11 : Gregor Vezonik (SLO)
12 : Alexey Rubtsov (RUS)
13 : Jakob Schubert (AUT)
13 : Michael Piccolruaz (ITA)
15 : Christoph Schweiger (GER)
16 : Sean Bailey (USA)
17 : Jan Hojer (GER)
18 : Kokoro Fujii (JPN)
19 : Simon Lorenzi (SUI)
20 : Philipp Martin (GER)
The 20 Women Qualified For Semi-Finals
1 : Miho Nonaka (JPN)
2 : Natalia Grossman (USA)
3 : Johanna Farber (AUT)
4 : Brooke Raboutou (USA)
5 : Futaba Ito (JPN)
6 : Katja Debevec (SLO)
7 : Sienna Kopf (USA)
8 : Stasa Gejo (SRB)
9 : Fanny Gibert (FRA)
10 : Megan Lynch (USA)
11 : Laura Rogora (ITA)
12 : Mao Nakamura (JPN)
12 : Giorgia Tesio (ITA)
14 : Holly Toothill (GBR)
15 : Jessy Pilz (AUT)
16 : Alma Bestvater (GER)
17 : Kylie Cullen (USA)
18 : Oriane Bertone (FRA)
19 : Hannah Meul (GER)
20 : Chloe Caulier (BEL)
Featured Image of Miho Nonaka by Daniel Gajda.