The Boulder World Cup made its way to Mumbai, India, for the fourth round last weekend and another exhilarating competition. Representing the GB Climbing Team was BMC ambassador Shauna Coxsey and Leah Crane, who both made semi-finals. But, unfortunately, the heat and humidity proved to be too much for our climbers to handle. Read on for the complete report.
After winning the last four competitions in a row, Shauna’s victory streak came to an end in India. While she was disappointed with not making finals, we can say that her achievements so far, including making semis in Mumbai, have been massively impressive and we’re always proud to see her and Leah represent Great Britain.
After two days of competition filled with determination and tons of energy, especially from the crowd and local climbing community who did everything they could to make India’s first World Cup a resounding success, the gold medals went to Japanese climbers Kokoro Fujii and Miho Nonaka, the first of their careers.
Leah Crane, GB Climbing team member, commented: “The home nation created an electric atmosphere for the semis and the competition ran smoothly, probably the best we've had this season so far.
“They cheered and clapped and supported every climber. Shauna and I both agree this is the friendliest climbing community we've come across.”
The Japanese team dominated the podiums in Mumbai, as they took home two golds, one silver and one bronze medal, adding to their impressive performance in Chongqing two weeks ago.
Leah said: “It was cool to see Miho take her first World Cup gold and the men put on a great performance on a variety of blocs, but it was Kokoro Fujii who pulled out all the stops with an incredible display of contact strength on bloc three that took first place. I recommend watching the replay for that!”
Qualifiers and semis
The male climbers stormed the qualifier problems, with 13 competitors flashing three or more of the problems. But despite the send-trains, the cut for semis was nice and simple; if the climber had managed to top five of the blocs, they made it into the next round.
Semi-final blocs in the women’s competition were tough, but our competitors also battled worse conditions than they faced in China.
Leah Crane, GB Climbing Team member, said: “Well if we thought it was hot in China, walking down the street for two minutes [in Mumbai] results in you looking like you've just jumped in the swimming pool.”
With the warm-up area outside, Shauna and Leah used their portable Beastmaker to good effect and ensure their fingers were ready for the tiniest of holds. The female qualifiers were a different story to the male flash-fest, as the problems were much tougher and the third bloc remained unclimbed. Despite this, seven climbers got four tops and Melissa Le Nevé, Akiyo Noguchi and Miho Nonaka flashed four problems each.
Moving into the semi-finals, the setters stepped up the level and prepared some incredibly hard and tricky boulders. There were only five flashes, between both the men and the women, and very few swift tops, while over half of all the climbers failed to top even a single bloc.
Coming out later may have made it harder for a climber, as the extremely friction dependent holds would become greasier with each attempt.
Leah said: “Even though I didn't get a top in the semi-finals, I'm pretty happy with my performance. The moves felt hard and greasy but I tried hard and placed 11th for it, the last bloc just slipping away as I ran out of time on the last move.”
On Shauna’s performance, Leah said: “Shauna was out fourth from last and I could tell immediately the holds were in bad shape. Struggling on bloc one and two, I knew it had to be bad as these climbs were well within her ability. A top on bloc three brought her back up the score board, needing the last bloc to be in the final. The last bloc was a balancey traverse on volumes ending in a dyno top, or you could run across the traverse. Shauna took the balancey approach and very nearly made it across, but it wasn't her day and she placed ninth.”
The exciting conclusion to India’s first World Cup went right down to the wire in a finals full of drama. Men’s problem one featured energy-sapping upside down jamming, with only Tomoa Narasaki of Japan finding the most efficient path to the top. An easier two-move problem allowed most of the men back into the game on bloc two, with an inspiring flash from Kokoro Fujii, and when Narasaki failed to link the powerful moves on the third bloc it meant that four of the athletes were in with a chance of gold with only one problem to go. It turned out that all four of these competitors sent the final bloc, but Fujii took only two attempts to reach the top, earning him first place and his first gold medal of his career.
The women’s final also brought a crowd-pleasing but tense finale, although the problems saw less tops than in the men’s. Only Miho Nonaka managed to get more than a single top, and on blocs three and four most climbers failed to reach the bonus. Four competitors flashed the first bloc, problems two and three remained unclimbed, and Monika Retschy’s flash of the final bloc catapulted her into a provisional first place. However, she was bumped down to second when Miho Nonaka kept it together to stick the tenuous last move, becoming the only competitor to send two problems and the indisputable victor of the fourth World Cup.
After Mumbai, Shauna Coxsey remains in first place overall, but her lead has been diminished by missing out on finals. Meanwhile, Kokoro Fujii leads the men’s overall. Next up now is Innsbruck, Austria, on 20 and 21 May where we’ll be watching to see if Shauna can reignite her winning streak and to see the rest of the crew rejoin the GB Climbing Team for yet another exciting event.
Leah said: “After a jam packed schedule this past month-and-a-half of travelling and competing, and with Innsbruck coming up in four days, Shauna and I took some time out this evening for a little pamper. We'll be joined by a much bigger GB Team next weekend in Innsbruck.”
Miho Nonaka (JPN)
Monika Retschy (GER)
Akiyo Noguchi (JPN)
Melissa Le Nevé (FRA)
Sol Sa (KOR)
Katharina Saurwein (AUT)
Kokoro Fujii (JPN)
Tomoa Narasaki (JPN)
Alexey Rubtsov (RUS)
Jongwon Chon (KOR)
Rustam Gelmanov (RUS)
Jeremy Bonder (FRA)
WATCH: Finals of 2016 Boulder World Cup Round Four in Mumbai
WATCH: Semi-finals of 2016 Boulder World Cup Round Four in Mumbai
The GB Climbing Team is supported by the BMC, Mountaineering Scotland, and Rock Over Climbing. The GB Paraclimbing Team is supported by Oakwood Climbing Centre and Quay Climbing Centre. The GB Ice Climbing Team is supported by Montane. Many UK walls also support the British Climbing Team through free or subsidised entry.
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WATCH: Shauna Coxsey: This Girl Can Win on BMC TV