Two weeks after the conclusion of the IFSC World Championships, Lead world champions Jessica Pilz and Jakob Schubert (AUT), Combined world champions Janja Garnbret of Slovenia and Schubert and Bouldering world champion Kai Harada (JPN) head to Kranj, Slovenia, for the 5th Lead event of the 2018 IFSC World Cup season.
Kranj, hosting Lead World Cup events since 1996, again plays a pivotal role in the Lead season this year. Lead athletes are competing for positioning in the season rankings before the two concluding events in October, and performances in Kranj could decide final podiums.
Garnbret and Pilz have dominated all season long, occupying 1st and 2nd place among women athletes at the first four Lead events of 2018 in July. Pilz gained momentum on the biggest stage this month, arriving at the top hold quicker in finals to best Garnbret at the biannual IFSC World Championships. Garnbret ranks 1st in the IFSC World Cup season rankings for Lead after connecting back-to-back wins, and the reigning Lead season champion will be climbing at home where she won gold in 2017. Another medal for Garnbret and 1st place for Pilz would clinch spots on the Lead season podium for both athletes. Multiple athletes are strong contenders to join them on the Lead season podium, including Manon Hily of France and 2017 medallists Jain Kim (KOR) and Anak Verhoeven (BEL). Also keep an eye on Slovenia’s own Tjasa Kalan and veteran Mina Markovic, both ranked in the top ten and set to climb alongside Garnbret in front of their home crowd.
Schubert is the only athlete to win multiple gold medals this year in Lead for the men, having won the most recent IFSC World Cup in Lead and the first Lead event of the season. Fresh off his victories at the IFSC World Championships 2018, another triumph this weekend in Kranj would make it even more difficult to unseat Schubert from the Lead season podium. Reigning Lead season champion Romain Desgranges (FRA) and Stefano Ghisolfi (ITA) will try to end his winning streak, and Domen Skofic of Slovenia is also on the start list.
Qualified athletes for the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 have been game changers in the IFSC World Cup series this year, and three of them are registered to compete in Kranj before the debut of Sport Climbing on the Olympic stage in October. Vita Lukan and Lucka Rakovec are set to represent Slovenia at home. Since the previous IFSC World Cup in Lead, Lukan became Lead youth world champion at the IFSC Youth World Championships in the Juniors category, and Rakovec competed in Lead semi-finals at the IFSC World Championships. Nolwenn Arc (FRA), runner-up behind Lukan at IFSC Youth World Championships 2018, will join them in Kranj. Click here for the full list of starters.
Tune-in to the IFSC homepage this weekend, September 29th-30th, to watch the LIVE streaming of semi-final and final rounds. The schedule, 2016 highlights and photos and more can be found on the official Kranj event page, where results and replays will also be shared, and join the chat on Twitter during the show at #IFSCwc.