Munich 2016: Aftermath

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Jongwon Chon on M4

The 2016 IFSC Bouldering World Cup came to an end in a packed Munich’s Olympic Stadium. Tomoa Narasaki and Miho Nonaka took the gold, confirming the impressive superiority of the Japanese team. Moreover, Narasaki also won the overall title.

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The finalists

The final round in Munich was a great spectacle (big crowd, sunny weather, awesome venue) but it was slightly diminished by the technical issues and the setting of the female problems.

Once again the live stream didn’t work, which prevented thousands of fans from following the event. It wasn’t just some buffering problems and cuts like in Meiringen, but more like a total blackout “China style”. Except this was Munich. There are places were a proper live stream should be possible, and Munich is one of them.

The IFSC really have to step up their game in this regard; other climbing events seem to be able to offer good streams (Adidas Rockstars, the USA nationals, the CWIF, the Psicobloc Masters…), just give them a call and ask how it’s done.

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Melissa Le Neve happy on the top of W2

The setting of the female problems was disappointing. I don’t like criticising the work of the route setters because I see it as a very difficult one, in which just a tiny change can transform an impossible problem into an easy one and vice versa.

That said, 2 out of the 4 problems for the women were irrelevant. If you remove the first and last problems from the final nobody moves up or down the scoreboard. And, while you are at it, you can also remove the second one and the scoreboard won’t change either, but at least we saw some tops on that one.

It is true that Nonaka getting the top on W4 was one of the moments of the evening, but it was more a moment of collective relief (“phew, we won’t end this comp watching climbers fall time and again”).

On a more positive note, the male problems were much better. Powerful (even the slab), dynamic (even the slab), and doable (but not too doable, that’s the thin line route setter have to walk almost blindfolded).

Narasaki had secured the overall title during semis but he climbed as if he needed to win. He impressed everyone with his decisiveness and aggressive style, being the only one capable of climbing M3; his jump to the top was another highlight of the final.

But probably the most replayed moment of the night wasn’t a top, but a silly mistake. Manu Cornu had one hand on the top of M4 and he celebrated aggressively before matching. His movement made his left heel pop and he fell. You could almost hear a collective facepalm, but there’s no denying that Cornu has the kind of showmanship that keeps the audience excited.

When the climbing was done Narasaki and Nonaka were in a clear first position, followed by Chon, Coxsey (in the last 11 World Cups she’s been in 10 podiums), Rubtsov and Noguchi.

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Final Results in Munich

Narasaki is the 2016 Overall Winner along with Coxsey and followed by Nonaka, Fujii, Le Neve and Rubtsov.

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Overall Top 10 after Munich

The National Team Ranking reflects the impressive superiority of Japan. They’ve been surprising everyone year after year, always bringing new climbers ready to make finals. This season they have 3 climbers in the overall podium and Noguchi in 4th position. Also, this season Japan has placed climbers in every final (and I would be surprised if they fail to do it in Paris). This is also true for Russia, but I don’t see that so much as the result of a team effort but as the result of three very talented climbers climbing for Russia.

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National Team Ranking

The French team should be mentioned too. This season they’ve placed 7 different climbers in finals (Bonder, Levier, Le Neve, Gibert, Kaiser, Mawem and Cornu) and they have 4 climbers in the overall top 10.

Next stop: the World Championships in Paris

And that’s it for the 2016 Bouldering World Cup. What started about 4 months ago in Meiringen is now over and all eyes are focused on Paris. The World Championship is the event of the year and it will be the perfect occasion to celebrate the sport, its progression and its inclusion in the Olympics.

Will Narasaki and Shauna seal their best season to date with yet another gold medal? Will Sharafutdinov win his 4th World Championship title in the same venue where he won his 3rd? Will Noguchi win her first?

See you in Paris in less than a month.

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