2012 Recap – Best Female Competition Boulderers

The IFSC logo2012 is over (and world is still spinning!), let’s see who were the 5 best female competitors in IFSC bouldering competitions.

Please bear in mind that this is based mostly on my personal opinion and is just for fun, don’t get offended if your personal favorite is not in the list!

5 – Jain Kim (KOR)

Why on earth would I choose a climber who ended up in 9th place in the Bouldering World Cup ranking? Well simply because I’d love to see more climbers like her on the wall. Jain Kim is probably the most elegant competitor out there. She climbs smoothly and in control (sometimes too much). She keeps her head cool at all times, her technique is sublime. She is also one of those climbers who knows how to accept failure. Regardless of the outcome she always ends her climbs with a bow to the crowd and smile.

She participated in 4 out of 6 Bouldering World Cups and made finals in 2 of them. She also made finals in the World Championships in Paris and manage to send the last problem in the final, a problem which no one else (not Stöhr, not Naguchi, not Sandoz…) could send. In Paris she was competing in every category and ended up becoming Overall World Champion.

4 – Mina Markovic (SLO)

Mina is a machine. Controlled, cool-headed, with really good technique. Much like Jain Kim she’s sometimes too much of a lead climber. She struggles with dynamic moves but that aside she’s a safe bet. Her strong points? Body tension moves. Where others slip their way to the mat Mina sticks like glue even to the worst frictionless volumes (we saw that in Munich, on the 2nd problem in the qualification round). Another asset is her incredible endurance (both physical and mental), she’ll try a problem as many times as it takes, without resting too much, until she sends it (or runs out of time).

She missed the World Championship due to a broken thumb (with which she managed to send a semi-final problem in Munich, how hardcore is that?) but despite that she had a great year (overall 2nd in Lead, 4th in Bouldering, World Cup Lead Champion). Her bouldering highlight was getting the gold in Log-Dragomer in front of her audience.

3 – Akiyo Noguchi (JPN)

Miss Noguchi is, in my opinion, one of the two best female bouldering competitors in the World (can you guess who is the other one?). This year, again, she has proven why. She’s extremely good in all the climbing aspects that makes you a top bouldering competitor. Good dynoer, good at figuring out betas, good at keeping it cool when the pressure is up, good at technical problems, good at powerful moves. She won half of the Bouldering World Cups and only missed 2 finals (Innsbruck and Vail). In Paris she ended up in 6th place.

2 – Shauna Coxsey (UK)

Before the season started I thought that only Alex Puccio and Mina Markovic could step up and become the third possible option to win the overall title (the other two being the classic duel Stöhr-Naguchi) but how wrong I was…

Shauna Coxsey is the third option. She gave us a hint by making finals in Munich 2011 but I didn’t expect such a breakthrough. In 2012 she has had one of the best seasons you can ask for (despite breaking one leg and missing the last World Cup and the World Championships). She made finals in every single World Cup she participated in and ended up with 3 silver medals.

In Innsbruck she almost got the gold in front of Stöhr’s crowd. It was up to Coxsey but she took too many tries on the last problem and Stöhr is too good to give anyone more than a slim chance.

Overall she has been a huge (and pleasant) surprise. She seems to be a cooled down version of Anna Stöhr (that was supposed to be a complement). She’s less experienced than the Austrian but this next season I’m expecting a lot from her.

1 – Anna Stöhr (AUT)

Well, what can I say… She’s the best in history. As good as it gets. Slabs, roofs, slopers, edges, body-tension moves or dynos (best female dynoer on Earth?) she masters it all.

Anna Stöhr bouldering in Munich

Anna Stöhr in Munich 2012. Picture from WikiCommons.

Of the 6 World Cups she made podium in 5 of them and finals in every single one. Her worst result? 5th place. 2 Gold medals, 2 silvers and 1 bronze.

Add another bronze from the World Championships in Paris. Everyone is still scratching their heads wondering how come she didn’t win. That’s how good she is, everyone (including her, probably) expects her to win, anything less is surprising. How can she cope with that kind of pressure? Will competitions get boring for her? I hope not. She certainly looks sincerely happy while competing. She usually looks eager to climb, eager to grab the top. And most of us are eager to see her on the wall again.

Honorable mentions:

Unless you don’t care about this topic (and you do care, or you wouldn’t be reading) you are probably enraged that I didn’t include people like:

Mélanie Sandoz, current World Champion, who made 3 finals and 1 podium. Yes, it was the most important podium and she was on top of it but overall her results were “simply” world class, not top 5 class.

Alex Puccio, who made 3 finals and got one bronze medal. She’s a great climber but she’s a bit of a wild card. She can surprise you by flashing what seemed impossible or fall on the second move on a slab where others hiked with easy. In any case, always fun to watch and as strong as it gets.

And many others like Melissa Le Neve, Cecile Avezou, Juliane Wurm, Katharina Saurwein, Momoka Oda… all those performed extremely well and could arguably be switched with Jain Kim for the 5th place. But Jain Kim is a personal favorite of mine so she’s going to stay there ;)

Well, that’s it. I can’t wait for the 2013 season to begin!


Speak Your Mind