It was an exciting weekend for British competition climbing: Molly Thompson-Smith won gold in the European Youth Cup and Shauna Coxsey came second in the IFSC Boulder World Cup in Toronto, pushing her into first overall position. Mina Leslie-Wujastyk reports.
After a short mid-season break, the bouldering teams were back on the road and this time the destination was Toronto, Canada for the fifth event of the year. A few days acclimatising and checking out Niagara Falls, Team GB were ready to get climbing.
The bouldering qualification day was Saturday, and this competition saw 39 women and 40 men compete; a relatively small turn out in comparison to other events this year. Amongst those 79 were four Brits: Shauna Coxsey, Diane Merrick, Nathan Phillips and Tyler Landman.
Men qualified first, and Tyler, one of the strongest outdoor climbers in the world, made it into semis in 17th place, a hopeful for finals. Nathan put in a sterling effort in his first senior World Cup, topping one problem and finishing in 31st place. In the women’s Shauna surprised no one by topping all five problems and qualifying in second place. Diane Merrick finished in a respectable 33rd.
Meanwhile, at the European Youth Cup in Imst, Molly Thompson-Smith won her first Gold and Hannah Slaney finished sixth. What a year it’s been so far for British competition climbing. Molly, the GB Junior Lead Team Captain, put in a dominating performance and led by a good margin. But it all wasn’t all plain sailing: Molly arrived in Imst coming off the back of a busy exam period, which meant juggling training with study.
Her performance was even more impressive considering that she was struggling with a nasty cold - she even had to pause mid final route to weather a fierce coughing fit. Valuable style points were gained by taking a one-armed rest to cover her mouth with one hand, while other competitors were struggling to even clip at the same point!.
Having a Brit on the podium, smiling from ear to ear to the tune of our national anthem, topped off a great weekend for the GB Junior Lead Team, who all represented their country to the highest standard.
BMC competitions officer Rob Adie commented: “Molly has been on the verge of winning her first event for some time, doing extremely well last year as one of the youngest climbers in her category. Now she’s one of the older climbers in Youth A, she qualified in third place for the final, despite not feeling well at the time. The final was set for her to take the win and she climbed extremely well to win by a clear margin and take her first European Youth Cup title. Since there’s only one EYC this year, technically that makes her overall EYC series winner as well. With the European Youth Championships at Edinburgh International Climbing Arena in two weeks’ time, hopefully she’ll add a European Championship to her title haul too.”
In Toronto, the semi-finals came around, and the blocs looked pretty hard, especially the women’s. Only one top was needed to make finals (with only one fall and two bonuses), even though Akiyo Noguchi managed to top all four. Shauna sailed in in second place with three tops. In the men’s, both Jan Hojer and Sean McColl did all four boulders, but the cut off was at two boulders in three attempts. Tyler did one boulder and finished in 18th, which just goes to show how high the standards are at these events. The shocker from this round was that neither Anna Stohr nor Killian Fischhuber (the two gold medallists from this event in 2013) made finals. Both were sitting in 8th place, probably quite shocked.
Going into finals we had: Akiyo Noguchi, Shauna Coxsey, Miho Nonaka, Jule Wurm, Alex Puccio and Julija Kruder in the womens’ and Jan Hojer, Sean McColl, Jongwon Chon, James Kassay, GiGi Glarion-Mondet and Rustam Gelmanov in the men’s.
One thing Toronto is known for in the Bouldering World Cups is the incredible crowd: not the biggest, but one of the loudest and most psyched. Last year, they nearly took the roof off and this year was looking no different. As the athletes looked at their boulders it was clear to those watching that we were in for a show, the boulders looked interesting, dynamic but also pretty technical.
In the women’s, it was close right up until the end, with five girls having done the previous three boulders. It came down to attempts for the top three who all completed the fourth boulder, putting them on the podium. Akiyo was on top with only five attempts in total, her first win since Munich in August 2012, and she was ecstatic to be back on top. As the only women to complete all the boulders in semi-finals, it was very well deserved.
In the men’s, it looked like Jan was going to dominate as he was the only one to top the first boulder. Surprisingly, Jan couldn’t manage to mount the huge volume on the third boulder, and suddenly it was all to play for again. GiGi put himself in the lead with an impressive flash of boulders three and four, leaving Jan just behind him in second place.
A great competition and another brilliant result from Shauna Coxsey, which now puts Shauna firmly in first place in the overall rankings.
BMC competitions officer Rob Adie explained: “Shauna Coxsey’s silver medal in Toronto was a fantastic achievement, with an excellent display of climbing in the final from both her and gold medallist Akiyo Noguchi from Japan. With last year’s World Cup series winner, and current World number one, Anna Stohr failing to even make the final, this now means that Akiyo is Shauna’s main rival for the overall World Cup series title. If Shauna wins one more World Cup and podiums in the other two events left in the season, she will be very difficult to beat.”
Boulder World Cup Final Results:
1st – Akiyo Noguchi and GiGi Glarion-Mondet
2nd - Shauna Coxsey and Jan Hojer
3rd - Alex Puccio and Sean McColl
4th - Miho Nonaka and Jongwon Chon
5th - Jule Wurm and Rustam Gelmanov
6th - Julija Kruder and James Kassay
Boulder World Cup GB Results:
2nd – Shauna Coxsey
18th – Tyler Landman
31st - Nathan Phillips
33rd – Diane Merrick
The sixth round of this year’s IFSC Boulder World Cup takes place in Vail, Colorado, 6-7 June.
Did you see?
British team members, including Shauna Coxsey and Fran Brown on the BBC? - Huge thanks to the team at Outdoor Buzz for the support in making this happen.
Did you know?
Molly and Shauna are both BMC ambassadors.
WATCH: a short news highlights reel on BMC TV:
WATCH: The IFSC Boulder World Cup Toronto finals in full
WATCH: Shauna's fantastic mid-season interview, exclusive to BMC TV
WATCH: Molly climb in the 2013 EYC, exclusive to BMC TV
WATCH: Shauna's revealing behind-the-scenes World Cup Diary
Shauna Coxsey's World Cup Video Diary: Part 1 from team_BMC on Vimeo.
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