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U.S.A. Makes First World Cup Semis

While no Canadians made it through, some strong North Americans will be competing this weekend

The IFSC World Cup Hachioji 2023 got underway today with qualification in both the men’s and women’s Boulder. The IFSC’s press release details the first round of competition.

Getting the event started was Japan’s Nonaka Miho and USA’s Natalia Grossman, who is on a run of five consecutive IFSC World Cup Boulder wins, for the women’s qualification. With 74 climbers competing in the women’s competition, the athletes were split into two groups – group A and group B. Because of a tie for tenth position in Group B, 21 athletes progressed through to the semi-finals which take place tomorrow.

Climbers handle being the first on the mat for a competition differently, for 2022 IFSC World Cup Boulder Series champion Grossman, it’s not something she particularly enjoys: “I never really like going first, it feels weird to be out on your own at the start, but I guess it’s fine.” Talking about her goals for the event, Grossman said: “Just being out here and getting to compete again after a really long time.

I’ve been focusing a lot more on Lead the past couple of months, and so there’s always a little bit of sacrifice when you focus on one discipline more than the other, but it’s exciting to get to test myself again on some new boulders.” Both Miho and Grossman made it through to the semi-finals with the Japanese climber taking top spot alongside compatriot Matsufuji Anon and Grossman in fifth alongside another Japanese climber, Sekikawa Melody. Israel’s Ayala Kerem and USA’s Brooke Raboutou move through to semi-finals in third which will feature eight home nation athletes.

Natalia Grossman

Ninety-six men competed in the Boulder qualification with the Japanese climbers dominating the top five across the two groups – group A and group B. Narasaki Tomoa excelled in group B topping all five boulders and progressing in first position alongside South Korea’s Lee Dohyun who also managed to top all problems in group A. Ogata Yoshiyuki was a little nervous before competing but settled down once he got on to the mat. The Japanese climber also topped all five of the Boulders in Group A and qualified for semi-finals in third.

Talking of the pressure of competing on home soil, Yoshiyuki said: “I was nervous about climbing in Japan as I was the champion last year and there may be a little bit of pressure, but I’m quite happy now because I know my friends and family will come to support me on the final day.” Yoshiyuki was also happy that his country opened the season saying: “It’s fun. I think the walls in Japan are a little bit different to other places in the world so it’s good to have the first World Cup of the season here.”

Also progressing in third was teammate Fujii Kokoro with 16-year-old Anraku Sorato making it four in the top five for the Asian country. European Boulder champion Nicolai Uznik of Austria also progressed to the semi-final which will take place on April 23. Follow results here.