Keita Dohi of Japan became Sport Climbing’s first Youth Olympic Games gold medalist among male athletes in Buenos Aires today, and fellow Youth Olympians Shuta Tanaka of Japan and Sam Avezou of France were awarded the silver and bronze medals.
A new day, a new set of game changers set their eyes on Youth Olympic medals in the men’s final on Wednesday. Avezou, fastest among losing athletes in the qualification races, rebounded in the next race against YuFei Pan (CHN) and didn’t slip once. Exciting races for 1st and 3rd place concluded the Speed final. Pan held on to slap the pad less than two tenths of a second before Filip Schenk (ITA). Dohi scored only times below 8 seconds in the round but Avezou, behind at the start of the race, caught up just in time to place 1st in Speed by four hundredths of a second.
All six finalists topped the first two Bouldering problems in the late morning sun, and Pan and Schenk took an early lead by doing so on their first attempts. Their streak of tops ended on the slab problem, and Dohi took advantage of the opportunity by inching his way to the top hold on his first try. Petar Ivanov (BUL) and Tanaka stuck the big opening swing of the final problem which bested Avezou, but only Dohi and Schenk connected all the power moves. The sole athlete with four tops, Dohi took the lead in the Combined ranking with one discipline remaining.
The finalists put on a show of endurance on the men’s Lead route, which culminated in a powerful traverse at the top just as foot holds disappeared. Pan executed well-placed heel-hooks to hang on for the first top but missed out on a medal in Buenos Aires. Tanaka repeated the feat immediately after Pan in quicker time, putting him in good standing for a medal. Avezou and Schenk were in contention for gold until they fell at the concluding crux sequence. Dohi, already the first ever men’s gold medallist in Sport Climbing at the Youth Olympic Games, rose to the penultimate hold in front of the cheering crowd for good measure. Silver medallist Tanaka made it two Japanese athletes on the podium with his quick ascent, two years before the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and Avezou won France the bronze medal.
Replays, results, highlights, photos, news and more can be found on the Buenos Aires event page, and stay tuned for more from the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires!