Bronze medal for Shauna, great GB Climbing Team performance at first Boulder World Cup of the season

The GB Climbing Team was out in force at the first IFSC Climnbing World Cup in Meiringen, Switzerland, putting on a fine performance to start off the season. And, after a run of mishaps and injuries, two-time Boulder World Cup Champion Shauna Coxsey returned with confidence to take the bronze medal.

The IFSC World Cup season started in the Meiringen for the fourth time where the world’s best competition climbing competitors gathered to captivate the crowd. Problems were as creative as they were difficult, and the stadium was bursting with roaring spectators to help power the climbers to the top. Starting at this event, the points awarded to climbers for their overall ranking will count towards being invited to attend the Olympics Qualification event, so already athletes are aiming as high as possible.

Qualifications went well for the GB Climbing Team, who were looking extremely professional in their new team kit courtesy of sponsors Duco. With a strong squad on show, there were top efforts from everyone that came, and three of our athletes, Shauna Coxsey, Emily Phillips, and Nathan Phillips, topped enough problems to make it through to semi-finals – Nathan qualified in first place by flashing all of the boulders, and Shauna even qualified for semis despite having suffered a string of injuries recently, taking the decision to have an injection in her knee just a few days before the competition.

Tricky boulders made for tough times in semi-finals, and Nathan and Emily battled hard to earn themselves a number of zones (formerly bonus holds), however couldn’t quite find their way to the tops of any blocs. But Shauna performed fabulously to hit and hold the tops of three of the problems, earning herself a place in the final.

In the final, Shauna pounced into the lead by topping the W1, the first boulder, in two attempts. As Akiyo Noguchi of Japan was the only other competitor to do so, Shauna was already looking likely to see a podium finish. However, the tables were then turned when Shauna and Akiyo struggled to find their way through a tricky coordination move on W2 and ended up being the only two climbers that failed to top it. Moving into W3, everyone was on one top each and the pressure was building. Shauna and Janja Garnbret of Slovenia both flashed W2, and Akiyo also managed a top but in more attempts.  

Failing to get a top on W4, the final problem, Shauna’s two tops firmly put her in third position to win the bronze medal. But as Akiyo and Janja both climbed W4, and had three tops apiece, the gold medal was awarded to Janja due to having taken fewer attempts to gain those tops, and the silver medal went to Akiyo. It’s clear that Shauna is back to fighting strength, but competition is as fierce as ever and will make for thrilling events throughout the season.

Shauna Coxsey said: “I am so overwhelmed with the support I have received over the time I have been injured. It felt so great to be back out there competing with such strong, inspiring women. I cannot wait for the next event!”

In the men’s competition, the Japanese team demonstrated its dominance and seven of its athletes made it through to semi-finals, all placing 10th position or higher. Nathan Phillips, GB Climbing Team athlete, pulled as hard as possible in qualification to take down all the boulders first go. Unfortunately, he suffered a trickier time in semi-finals and a valiant effort gained him 19thplace.

Heading into the final, Adam Ondra of the Czech Republic joined Jongwon Chon of South Korea and four athletes from Japan – Kokoro Fujii, Rei Sugimoto, Tomoaki Takata and Tomoa Narasaki. The first boulder, M1, was almost a formality for most, with only Kokoro missing out, but M2 shutdown both Jongwon and Tomoaki, with both failing to even reach the zone. Adam took control of the final by flashing M3 and then emphatically took the gold medal by flashing M4 and being the only climber to top it. Tomoa Narasaki took silver with three tops, and Rei Sugimoto took bronze with his two tops.

Next up the bouldering athletes will head to the IFSC World Cup in Moscow on 12 April, where they will be joined by the fastest climbers in the world for a Speed event also.

IFSC Boulder World Cup Meiringen: Results

Women:

1st: Janja Garnbret (SLO)

2nd: Akiyo Noguchi (JPN)

3rd: Shauna Coxsey (GBR)

4th: Oceania MacKenzie (AUS)

5th: Fanny Gibert (FRA)

6th: Petra Klingler (SUI)

20th: Emily Phillips (GBR)
21st: Hannah Slaney (GBR)
53rd: Jen Wood (GBR)

Men:

1st: Adam Ondra (CZE)

2nd: Tomoa Narasaki (JPN)

3rd: Rei Sugimoto (JPN)

4th: Kokoro Fujii (JPN)

5th: Jongwon Chon (KOR)

6th: Tomoaki Takata (JPN)

19th: Nathan Phillips (GBR)
29th: Will Bosi (GBR)
49th: Dave Barrans (GBR)
57th: Aidan Roberts (GBR)
67th: Billy Ridal (GBR)

Ben Lampkin