Janja Garnbret and Jongwon Chon claim the gold in Chongqing

Slovenian star and Lead World Champion Janja Garnbret stood on top of the podium (her first senior bouldering gold) along with Korean powerhouse Jongwon Chon after a World Cup full of dynamic, powerful problems and with amazing results for Team Japan.

IFSC World Cup Chongqing 2017IFSC World Cup Chongqing 2017

Chongqing offered a great World Cup to inaugurate its new competition venue. The bouldering wall looks modern and massive. Much better, for instance, than the one used in Meiringen (which is a bit old-school with its right-angles to separate vertical sections).

The route setters took full advantage that new wall and offered spectacular problems mixing “normal” climbing with some run-and-jumpy boulders. In general, the climbing was quite powerful and full of big moves, but the right end of the wall also had some slabby and vertical problems.

From the get-go, in the qualifiers, the Japanese team got record-breaking results, with all of its climbers (14, not a small group) making semis. Half of the climbers in the male top 20 (and later in the top 6) were Japanese.

The qualifying boulders fell on the easy end, with every boulder being topped by several climbers and 14 athletes getting 5 tops.

Qualifiers highlights:

As has been happening for a couple of seasons, some big stars failed to make it to semis (it’s getting inevitable with the pool of talent growing each season): Megan Mascarenas, Sean McColl, Rustam Gelmanov, Alban Levier, Dmitry Sharafutdinov or Jernej Kruder, to name a few, didn’t get in the top 20.

On Sunday morning climbers faced the hardest round in the comp. Alannah Yip got the last spot in the final with 2 tops in 8 attempts, for Alexey Rubtsov one flash was enough. By the way, Yip became the first Canadian female to make finals in an IFSC Bouldering World Cup.

The finalists were:
1- Janja Garnbret | Jongwon Chon
2- Shauna Coxsey | Tomoa Narasaki
3- Akiyo Noguchi | Kai Harada
4- Stasa Gejo | Keita Watabe
5- Anna Stöhr | Manuel Cornu
6- Alannah Yip | Alexey Rubtsov

It was good to see Noguchi, Stöhr and Narasaki back in finals after their disappointing results in Switzerland. That, from one event to the next, those 3 went from not making semis to making finals goes to show how competitive and unpredictable the field is getting.

Meanwhile Japan keeps putting fresh climbers in finals. For Kai Harada, just 18 years old, this was his first senior final (and semifinal).

And it’s always painful to read the list of climbers who were close to making finals but couldn’t: Petra Klingler, Tsukuru Hori, Chloé Caulier, Jakob Schubert, Miho Nonaka, Kokoro Fujii, Monika Retschy and David Firnenburg completed the top 10 after the finalists.

Finals highlights:

The final was a really good show with a couple of minor issues. In terms of setting, the difficulty was almost perfect. Even M1, which was flashed by 5 climbers, felt hard. M4 was the best problem in the final; great to watch, with big moves and a lot of uncertainty, really good choice to end the comp.

Spot-on difficulty on the female side too. All the problems were topped and both moves and holds were varied. The problems were quite dynamic, even W3, set on a vertical wall.

IFSC World Cup Chongqing 2017

Chon and Garnbret were ahead of the pack the entire round, both getting tops on problems that the rest couldn’t climb. Still, the winners were decided on the last problem. A really good final.

The minor issues mentioned above were two incidents with M4. Both Chon and Narasaki matched the top incorrectly. Chon was informed immediately and had to climb the problem again, getting an extra attempt in the process; while Narasaki got the top initially just to have it removed later. He had the chance of trying the problem again after the comp but, since it wouldn’t have changed the result, he refused to do it.

Although the judges were a bit inconsistent (giving the top to Narasaki but not to Chon), it was the climbers who didn’t pay attention to the tape marking the top hold.

Also, the 4-minute flat rule didn’t win any supporters with Alexey Rubtsov‘s top of M4 two seconds out of time. That was quite frustrating to watch.

IFSC World Cup Chongqing 2017

To end on a positive note, the live streaming worked perfectly, with good image quality (full-HD and no buffering issues). The commentary was quite good too, with Alex Khazanov offering a lot of interesting thoughts.

Let’s hope that Nanjing, next stop of the Bouldering World Cup, maintains the level, Chongqing was all-around a great event.

Full results: men & women.

Semis replay:

Finals replay:


  1. >Although the judges were a bit inconsistent (giving the top to Narasaki but not to Chon) …
    And giving top to Watabe!

    > … it was the climbers who didn’t pay attention to the tape marking the top hold.
    Don’t you think if none of four climbers (also Rubtsov), none of commentators, and (for most of the time) none of the judges are aware of the ‘right’ top — this is the mistake of route setters, not climbers (or anyone else)?

  2. The 4 minute flat rule really bums me out. One of the best parts of these comps is watching people fight for the last go. (Going faster is not the same as trying harder/smarter ). I like the idea of a 4+1 system

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