The Swiss crowd cheered on local athletes to podium places in the third round of the UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup 2016. Liam Lonsdale attended and gives us the rundown of the event.
Saas-Fee hosted another stunning event that marked the third and penultimate round of the UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup 2016.
The Speed event was as exciting as ever with the athletes competing in their qualification rounds on the natural ice fall behind the main car park structure of the Saas-Fee venue. In a thrilling final, Ekaterina Korshcheeva (RUS) beat the seemingly unstoppable Maria Tolokonina (RUS) to first place by a few tenths of a second.
In the Men’s event, after two failed attempts each, Nikolay Kuzovlev (RUS) and Vladimir Kartashev (RUS) both had one shot at the top spot left on their final go of the competition. Both put in incredible times, the fastest of the competition and again separated by only a few tenths of a second. But, after looking at the clock, Kuzovlev was that split second faster to take home his first gold of 2016.
After a superb qualifying round, all the usual suspects were through to the lead semi-finals, with extra Swiss & French athletes making up the roster for the event on Saturday morning. Unfortunately the large British continent in attendance struggled with the tricksome granite holds and the powerful and technical style. Harry Holmes and Tom Ballard both did well and got over halfway on their routes, but it wasn’t quite enough to qualify. Despite some brave efforts from the whole team, they were left to spectate for the rest of the competition.
The semi final routes were set perfectly, with exactly the right balance of tops and falls … but not without taking down a few unsuspecting big-hitters such as Alexey Tomilov (RUS) and Han Na Rai Song (RUS), with both athletes falling just below half height on the routes.
With the competition wall prepped, and the car park full of local residents and tourists for support, the final got underway. Clearly favouring the Swiss competitors (of which four made it to the finals) the crowd were literally shouting Petra Klingler and Yannick Glathard up the routes. Both athletes climbed incredibly well in what was a ridiculously close final in the men's and the women's competitions.
Close as it was, there was still no stopping Maria Tolokonina (RUS). And climbing to the high-point of the womens route, she took her FIFTH gold medal of the season. In the Men’s competition, fresh from his silver medal in Cheongsong, Maxim Tomilov (RUS) beat Janez Svoljsak (SLO) by one move to take the top spot.
Silver medallist Petra Klingler was delighted with how it all went: “I am so happy with my performance here in Saas-Fee. The crowd were absolutely amazing and this whole thing would not be possible without them. For me, I am most pleased to be able to say that I gave everything and climbed my best. I can’t wait for Rabenstein!”
A special mention goes to Sina Goetz, the 17-year-old Swiss competitor who made her first semi-finals and finals in her first ever world cup event. Not bad.
The tour continues, with the final round in Rabenstein, Italy next week. Stay tuned!
1) Maxim Tomilov (RUS)
2) Janez Svoljsak (SLO)
3) Yannick Glathard (SUI)
16) Tom Ballard (Group A)
16) Harry Holmes (Group B)
18) Simon Ward (Group B)
22) Scott Grosdanoff (Group A)
29) Will Woodhead (Group A)
1) Maria Tolokonina (RUS)
2) Petra Klingler (SUI)
3) Maryam Fillipova (RUS)
27) Anna Wells (GBR)
33) Victoria Harvey (GBR)
1) Nikolai Kusovlev (RUS)
2) Vladimir Kartashev (RUS)
3) Egor Trapeznikov (RUS)
29) Harry Holmes (GBR)
1) Ekaterina Koshcheeva (RUS)
2) Maria Tolokonina (RUS)
3) Ekaterina Feoktistova (RUS)
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