Combined qualifications at the first Youth Olympic Games for Sport Climbing in Buenos Aires continued today with 21 male athletes from 16 countries, all vying for a spot in the 6-man final.
Blink too many times and you would have missed the beginning of the round, which opened with blistering fast climbing on the Speed wall. Ecuadorian speedster Nickolaie Rivadeneira scored the first quick time (7.056 seconds), matched immediately by Yaroslav Tkach of Ukraine in the following race. Seongmin Eom (KOR) and DiChong Huang (CHN) also excelled in their first run to place among the leaders (7.16 seconds; 7.15 seconds). Multiple athletes improved on their second run, including India’s Bharath Pereira (7.17 seconds), but Donghyun Jang of Korea and Tkach stood out as the only athletes to stop the timer with less than 7 seconds remaining on the clock to place 1st and 2nd in Speed. Before the racing was over, Sam Avezou of France soared to 3rd place in the last race (7.055), a crucial advantage for the Bouldering and Lead standout.
The Bouldering kicked-off with several tops of M1. The athletes balanced on teardrop volumes before jumping to thin finger rails and pulling up with only their arms to the final hold. Pereira, the first climber, worked out the solution in 5 attempts, followed shortly by David Naude of South Africa, Galo Hernandez of Ecuador and other game changers of Sport Climbing. Lukas Franckaert (BEL) was the first athlete to top two problems, finishing with a top of the W4 slab which six other athletes mastered, including Petar Ivanov of Bulgaria and Keita Dohi of Japan. Dohi impressed by piecing together the first tops of a dynamic M3 and M2, keeping the tension on powerful moves across sleek volumes while holding on to nearly flat screw-on crimps. Dohi solidified his 1st place in Bouldering with a final top, the only athlete to complete all four problems. Ivanov placed 2nd with three tops, fighting to the top of M3 and just missing out on a top of M2.
Hernandez set the first formidable high point on the steep Lead route, pushing past the previous climbers’ marks and slapping one hand on the headwall before falling. Nicolai Uznik (AUT) rose to an even greater height, swinging into the sky just a few moves from the top hold. YuFei Pan of China completed the first top in Lead at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, fighting the pump to reach the top of the wall and leaping for the top hold before clipping the final draw. Shuta Tanaka of Japan gave the crowd more to cheer for with a top of his one and moved ahead of Pan by taking less time to top. Avezou and Ivanov came up just shy of the top, but their 5th and 4th place still earned them spots in the Combined final. Finally, Filip Schenk (ITA) secured the third top of the day with a time between Pan and Tanaka’s to join them in the final.
Finalists Dohi, Avezou, Tanaka, Ivanov, Schenk, and Pan will climb again in the men’s Combined final on Wednesday, October 10th. Qualification replays and results can be found on the Buenos Aires event page, and tune-in for the next LIVE streaming tomorrow, October 9th, starting from 9:00 GMT-3 (local time) at ifsc-climbing.org. The first Sport Climbing winners of Youth Olympic medals will be decided with the women’s Combined final!