As the World Cup season draws to a close, many will shift their focus to the 2021 IFSC World Championships. Set to begin on Thursday, this event will become their first open category international competition.
Although relatively inexperienced compared with some other athletes, Team Canada looks strong and should manage to put on a show. Despite their Olympic qualifications, neither Alannah Yip nor Sean McColl will join the younger athletes heading to Moscow.
According to McColl’s most recent Instagram post, the Olympians wishes to recover. “The World Championships in Russia start in a couple of days, but I will not be there. Since the Olympics, I did one training camp right as I got home and have not climbed in a month. I took my off-season during the last month after a gruelling training block during the last few years.”
Fortunately, Canada’s other athletes will carry the mantle.
Over the last couple of years, McNamee has proved himself a strong competitor. Between Boulder Nationals in 2020, Open and Youth A Lead in 2019, and the Youth B Boulder PanAmerican event in 2017, McNamee has won several challenging competitions. He also managed to complete difficult boulder problems since the beginning of the pandemic. McNamee is the only Canadian competing in more than one discipline in Moscow. He will compete in Boulder and join his brother Kindar for Lead.
The dynamic and flexible style of Galloway has long afforded the Ontario climber provincial titles and consistent results. Galloway will compete exclusively in Boulder in what will become her first open-level international competition. After such a long time off the mats, the athlete will appreciate the opportunity to find her footing amongst a field of the world’s best climbers. Galloway’s last open-national-level bouldering competition placed her in first position heading into Finals. Though she did not ultimately make the podium, her prowess to earn first position through semis, despite his young age, should speak to her ability to perform in Russia.
In terms of power, few climbers in North America can approach the strength and consistency of Ontario’s Zach Richardson. Raised in his parents’ climbing gym, the self-coached climber has taken fourth at US Boulder Nationals, beating out Zander Waller, the American that won the most recent iteration of the North American Cup Series (NACS). To that effect, Richardson also made Finals at the most recent NACS. Such a strong performance after 18 months without competition suggests that he has more to give. He will compete in Boulder.
Fischer also harks from Ontario and brings her own brand of power. Like Richardson, Fischer’s strength makes her a tough contender, as does her focus on the wall. She joined several Canadians at the NACS in Albuquerque, becoming the only Canadian woman to make Finals in Boulder. Fischer managed to earn silver to Vest in the 2020 Boulder Nationals, and stands to make quite the impact in Moscow if the problems suit her style. The increasingly powerful design of women’s bouldering should play to Southern Ontario’s crushers.
Although few will have heard of Ethan Pitcher, this speed specialist recently became the first Canadian to break six seconds. A sub-six pace is almost required for male speed specialists to be competitive on the international field. Although Pitcher might not run the fastest time of the competition, he could make Finals if he runs under six through the qualification round. Finals then becomes a question of consistency. If he can avoid slipping, Pitcher could even make the podium at the World Championships. That said, defeating the Indonesians will prove extremely difficult.
Finally, Lead specialist Kindar McNamee will compete in his third open international competition as a lead specialist. After earning gold in two youth lead events and winning the 2020 Junior Boulder National Championships, the technical and strong McNamee will show the significance of having both power and endurance. McNamee earned second only to his brother in 2019 Open Lead Nationals and, after a full season of training, has come around to his current brand of strength. The McNamees make for a powerful duo, each with their own abilities that, when paired in the form of training partners, make for a couple of strong competitors.
September 16 : Speed Finals
September 17 : Paraclimbing Finals
September 20 : Men’s and Women’s Lead qualification.
September 21 : Men’s and Women’s Lead Semi-Final and Lead Final.