Another week and another world cup, they seem to coming thick and fast at the moment and I am loving having awesome palm-sweating bouldering to watch almost every weekend. This round saw the tour rock up in Chongqing, China. Previous World Cups in China have had mixed opinions from many athletes and this year was no different it seems judging by my usual social media stalking, I remember last year Shauna also made a point of taking her own food just in case.
It was humid as hell throughout Quals, Semis and Finals, and with the setters throwing in lots of volumes it looked hot and slippy out there (and not in a good way, get your mind out of that gutter!). The problems were pretty good, but to be honest the final was the highlight with amazing performances on some pretty amazing problems.
Tamoa of Japan came out storming, and like the entire Japanese team (of which there were 5 across the finals) looked incredibly strong. Karoline Sinnhuber of Austria looked a bit lacklustre to be honest; both M1 an W1 had balancy dynamic starts and you could really see the difference between the male and female climbers I thought. The guys all threw themselves into the dynamic move without exception, but a lots of the women seemed determined to do it statically, despite it failing every time. Maybe it’s a mindset thing? I’m really not sure, but the setters allowed for one hell of a comparison on that first one. (W1 video below)
M2 was an absolute corker, with everything up until the final hold seeming a breeze for most of the men. The final move to hold the top involved pressing from below with both hands onto a horrible hexagonal-type bulbous hold with nothing in the way of friction or edges for grip. It saw some heartbreaking falls, taking flashes away from Kokura in particular, but again Tamoa just found that tricky position and nailed it (he did look in pain though, so lets not downplay anything ha).
The commentary as usual came from Charlie Boscoe (formerly the Climbing Daily guy), who was joined this week by Jernes Kruder of Slovenia AKA The Mohawk Guy, he was quite adorable and his shouts of “woah! WOAH!” when something cool was happening just made everything better. I really enjoy getting to hear the climbers opinions as they commentate so hats of to IFSC for pressganging them all into it every week ha. Impressive english skills too!
Anyway, M3 was pure power, with Jan ‘who needs feet’ Hojer looking on top form with an awesome flash – it’s so good to see him back in a final as I love watching him climb. Akiyo also looked a lot more like the Akiyo we knew and loved last year with some excellent moves on W3. But again, it was Shauna who Jernes proclaimed the “strongest women on the tour” with her casual flash of it. The Mens was all tied up by the final boulder, but the Women took it down the wire! Akiyo topped the final boulder in style, and was the first one to hold the tricky jump at the start. It was then a monkeybars-like finish to get the top. Shauna was last out, and the old rivalry that saw them fight it out quite a bit last season seemed to be putting no visible pressure on her (does anything, ever?!). Shauna topped W3 in fewer attempts, and used a lot less overall than Akiyo so bagged herself a THIRD WORLD CUP VICTORY! I can’t wait to see what India holds!