The IFSC World Cup season continued last weekend in Wujiang, China, where Molly Thompson-Smith was the only GB Climbing Team athlete to make the journey and forgo participating in the British Lead Climbing Championships. Despite flying solo and nearly losing her checked baggage, Molly performed brilliantly to make finals and take 5th place: her highest ever finish in an IFSC World Cup.
Representing the GB Climbing Team in China, Molly Thompson-Smith made the journey alone to test herself against the most elite climbers from around the world at the IFSC Lead World Cup in Wujiang. This season, Molly has been on top-form having made semi-finals in Edinburgh and Briançon, and coming third in Arco in the Duel event, and making the IFSC Lead World Cup final there also – the first British climber to do so since Lucy Creamer in 2004.
Molly’s competition nearly fell at the first hurdle in China, though, as her checked baggage containing her climbing shoes and team uniform failed to appear from the depths of the plane’s hold. Fortunately, she was reunited with her bag the next morning, and Molly could then forget the worrying to focus on preparing for the event ahead.
Report: Wujiang IFSC Lead World Cup final
With a top of the first route – only one of six to do so, including some of the other finalists Janja Garnbret, Jain Kim, Akiyo Noguchi, Ashima Shiraishi, and Anak Verhoeven – and falling just shy of the finish in the second route, Molly sailed through qualifications before making short work of the semi-final also, climbing superbly to qualify for the final in 6th place.
Up against the world's very best female Lead clmbers, Molly was the third athlete to compete in the final of the IFSC Lead World Cup in Wujiang, following on from Julia Chanourdie of France and Jessica Pilz of Austria. Molly remained calm and composed, which was reflected in her cool and calculated climbing through the lower section, but came off just after a decent rest section following a series of powerful moves.
Unable to reach Julia's initial high point, which was enough to earn her the bronze medal, Molly slipped down the rankings as the other competitors came out, but remained ahead of superstars Ashima Shiraishi of USA and Anak Verhoeven of Belgium to finish in an amazing fifth place. Janja Garnbret of Slovenia maintained her incredible record to win the gold medal, while Jain Kim of Korea was just unable to match Janja to take silver.
Over in the men's tournament, a number of usual faces in IFSC Boulder World Cups – such as season champion Jongwon Chon of Korea and Tomoa Narasaki of Japan – set significant high points, but none of them could best Stefano Ghisolfi of Italy, who took the gold medal again in China, his third of the season, while the current overall leader Romain Desgranges placed fifth.
WATCH: Highlights of the IFSC Lead World Cup Final
1st: Janja Garnbret (SLO)
2nd: Jain Kim (KOR)
3rd: Julia Chanourdie (FRA)
4th: Akiyo Noguchi (JPN)
5th: Molly Thompson-Smith (GBR)
6th: Ashima Shiraishi (USA)
7th: Jessica Pilz (AUT)
8th: Anak Verhoeven (BEL)
1st: Stefano Ghisolfi (ITA)
2nd: Tomoa Narasaki (JPN)
3rd: Hanwool Kim (KOR)
4th: Domen Skofic (SLO)
5th: Romain Desgranges (FRA)
6th: Jongwon Chon (KOR)
7th: Yoshiyuki Ogata (JPN)
8th: Keiichiro Korenaga (JPN)
The GB Climbing Team is supported by the BMC, Berghaus, and Rock Over Climbing, and the GB Paraclimbing Team is supported by Oakwood Climbing Centre and Quay Climbing Centre. Many UK walls also support the British Climbing Team through free or subsidised entry.
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