Why didn’t Chon get the top in Chongqing? How to identify the TOP

Last Sunday, during the final in Chongqing, Jongwon Chon had to climb M4 twice, since the first time he didn’t match properly. Identifying the top hold is quite easy, but in the heat of the moment, anyone can make a costly mistake. Let’s analyze what happened with Chon and the top of M4.

 
Update: Looks like Keita Watabe also matched incorrectly and he still has the top in the results. But it doesn’t affect the ranking. Thanks to Wijkert for pointing it out in the YouYube comment section!

Keita Watabe also matched on the volume and not on the hold.

Keita Watabe also matched on the volume and not on the hold.

And if you wanna know more about the IFSC rules, check out this post and video that cover a related incident from last season, in which Martin Stranik didn’t get a bonus (but it looked as if he deserved it).

And here’s the replay of the final:

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    Comments

    1. Nagasaki also die not match as de can see in the Video!

    2. ohkuta-biremono says:

      chon wAs informed at the site immediately, so he tried again. narasaki wasn’t informed and caselled the score,even though he did it flash. watabe, yes, he also missed but not canseled. funny, but all the volunteer judges. they deserve to be respected. i love this sport.

      • At the moment nobody noticed that Watabe matched incorrectly. And once the competition is over you can’t take away the top from him, it would be unfair since he can’t try the problem again.

        • >”And once the competition is over you can’t take away the top from him”
          That exactly what judges had done in case of Narasaki — they take away his top AFTER he has left the competition venue. I’am sure they were aware of their mistake before Chon started in M4. So the best solution in this case would be they did not change their criteria of judging during the competition – all three competitors or none of them should be awarded top and all three or none of them should have the opportunity for another attempts.
          It was just a pure luck this bad judging did not effect ranking.
          But the ones who are first to blame are not judges, but routesetters – there was no need to put an extra hold (of the SAME color) on TOP volume.
          IFSC should take some action…

          • Narasaki’s case was different. The appeal was made immediately after his attempt. And he had the chance to climb again, but he declined because he didn’t need the top. I think route setters did nothing wrong, the top was clearly marked and according to the rules. It was the climbers who didn’t pay attention. Then the judges made a couple of bad calls.

            • >I think route setters did nothing wrong, the top was clearly marked and according to the rules. It was the climbers who didn’t pay attention.

              If you are a lawyer, then you are right ;)
              See my other post — 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)?

            • But the hold wasn’t concealed in any way, there was a mark clearly visible from quite far away (let alone from the mat). That kind of tops (a hold on a volume) has been used many times and climbers are familiar with them. It wasn’t any “gotcha” moment by the route setters. In fact, during observation, climbers have two minutes to study the problem and ask doubts to the route setter. If they were unsure of which hold was the top they should have asked. I truly believe that all of those 4 climbers knew which hold was the top, but made a mistake in the heat of the moment. Also, how could the route setters mark the top any other way? It would be against the rules, if suddenly they use a different system to make that top more obvious it would confuse the climbers. They have to use the same marking system every time. The only change would be to use a hold of a different color, but that only solves the issue if the problem was that the climbers didn’t see the hold, and that’s highly unlikely. The hold was easy to see during the livestream, so during observation and while climbing it must have been prety easy to see (and, again, there’s a red piece of tape pointing at it).

              As for the judges, the only real mistake is that of Watabe (nobody saw that; not even other coaches appealed). Narasaki’s mistake was missed by the problem judge but caught by the technical delegate. And about the commentators… they make a lot of mistakes, if I had to speak that much I would make them too (and they have to keep an eye on two problems). They misread results, names, running orders…

    3. >I truly believe that all of those 4 climbers knew which hold was the top
      OK, no problem, but I totally disagree. What I’m sure NONE of them “knew” or paid attention. Why do you think Chon was so surprised after his first ‘top’?

      >Also, how could the route setters mark the top any other way?
      They marked it right, but as I said there is *no need* (it did not change the difficulty or any other aspect of the problem M4) to put another hold on top of the final volume. In general they should avoid this, but if they couldn’t (which was not the case here) they should warn competitors (and judges and commentators) BEFORE the competition (during the observation or in iso).

      >As for the judges, the only real mistake is that of Watabe (nobody saw that; not even other coaches appealed).
      Are you sure? What would you say if Narasaki or Chon did not succeed on his second attempt (too tired or disturbed) and this effect their ranking? As I said, it was a pure luck these mistakes (of judges and routesetters) did not effect the rankings.
      As for the coaches I’m sure most if not all of them are not aware of the ‘right’ hold. But even if they were, they probably wouldn’t complain against Watabe, as they (as probably most of us) believe it is ‘fair’ to ‘give’ him top (he had solved all the ‘real’ difficulties of the problem). And I’m sure, they wouldn’t complain in the case of Narasaki and Chon, if the *same criteria* (i.e. only matching top volume) was used for them as for Watabe.

      • >What I’m sure NONE of them “knew” or paid attention.
        If they didn’t know where the top was or failed to identify the top, that’s a big mistake on their part. I find it hard to believe, I think they simply got carried away with the excitement of climbing the problem.

        >Why do you think Chon was so surprised after his first ‘top’?
        I didn’t see him that surprised. Confused and frustrated maybe, but it took him about 3 seconds to understand the mistake and his reaction wasn’t “no, you are wrong, the volume is the top”. So even if he initially thought the volume was the top (I don’t think so) he immediately realized that the top was the hold, which goes to show that he understands the marking and how to identify tops. Had he thought the marking was wrong or pointing at the volume he would have appealed the decision instead of climbing again.

        >Are you sure? What would you say if Narasaki or Chon did not succeed on his second attempt (too tired or disturbed) and this effect their ranking?
        A judging decision can’t be valued depending on how it affects a given climber. It’s either correct or incorrect. They matched on the wrong hold, so not giving them the top is the correct decision (it was a mistake to give the top to Narasaki initially).

        >As for the coaches, I’m sure most if not all of them are not aware of the ‘right’ hold. But even if they were, they probably wouldn’t complain against Watabe, as they (as probably most of us) believe it is ‘fair’ to ‘give’ him top.
        I don’t know if they knew which hold was the top. I would guess they did, they know very well how these competitions work and, again, that kind of top is common. Everybody understands how to identify a top.
        I know that nobody appealed because Watabe still has the top (and the Technical delegate has confirmed this, but it was obvious still).
        I think in a competition setting terms like “fairness” must be used very carefully. I think what’s fair is to apply the same rules every time, without exception. If you start making judgment calls about who “deserves” a top (vs. who gets a top according to the rules that have been applied in every other instance) you can get on a slippery slope and endless debates about what’s right and what’s wrong. I agree that Rubtsov, Watabe, Narasaki and Chon climbed the problem and could have matched on the top easily. But they didn’t. And that’s the only thing that matters. It’s not about climbing the problem, it’s about matching on the top. To get the top you must match on the top, every time. And it’s unfair to make exceptions.

        >*no need* to put another hold on top of the final volume
        If the volume was the top it would have been possible to match from the knee bar and skip the last moves. The chief setter has confirmed this.

        >In general they should avoid this
        Why limit the options of the route setters? These kinds of tops have been used many many times. In Chongqing, it was used during the qualifiers, for instance, and there was no problem. It has been used in almost every world cup for years. It was used in the World Championships in Paris too. I think a lot of people watching comps never paid too much attention to the marks and assume that climbers and coaches are also surprised by these kind of tops. They are not, they know them very well.

        >they should warn competitors
        But how would that warning sound like?
        The only reason you think M4 was different and worthy of a warning is because 4 climbers matched on the wrong top. Before that happened nobody saw nothing special about that problem or that top.
        Warning them about that top would be to the effect of “Guys, be careful with the top of M4, there’s nothing especially about it. We are using the same marking that we use ever time. So the top is the hold at which the tape points. Like every other time. You’ve seen that kind of tops many times before, so watch out.”

        Finally, I appreciate you taking the time to respond. I can talk for days about these comps and I’m glad I’m not the only one who finds these topics interesting (even though on this particular one we seem to disagree). So thanks for commenting Bojan!

    4. Wow, I wish that someone on another well known website that covers the comps would take as much time and thought as you do Angel before he publishes stuff. You know, like checking stuff. And you know like understanding the Rules. And you know, like actually watching YouTube and seeing what happens. And you know like actually attending comps and seeing what happens – well at least attending a comp more than once since 2011 :-)

      • Wait until I get to his level of fame, I’m gonna be pontificating and talking out of my behind all day every day.

    5. >These kinds of tops have been used many many times. In Chongqing, it was used during the qualifiers, for instance, and there was no problem. It has been used in almost every world cup for years. It was used in the World Championships in Paris too. I think a lot of people watching comps never paid too much attention to the marks and assume that climbers and coaches are also surprised by these kind of tops. They are not, they know them very well.
      I still didn’t see any reasonable explanation of yours for why this happened in M4. I only see ‘heat of the moment’, but this heat is there in every comp, right? I would probably buy this explanation if there was only one such case… But four (=all toppers) cases in a single boulder?! All four elite, experienced climbers, competing in world cup finals … well, I don’t buy it.
      Don’t you think (as I do) there must have been something *specific* about exactly this problem causing all four(!) to ‘miss’ the ‘right’ top?
      (And causing judges to take three *different* decisions in the *same* situation.)

      • >I still didn’t see any reasonable explanation of yours for why this happened in M4.
        I’m afraid I don’t have any good explanations. You are correct, all I have is the “heat of the moment” thing.

        But the fact that they are elite, experienced climbers is what puts the blame on them. They shouldn’t make that kind of mistakes. And if they do, they should blame themselves (and I’d bet they do, I don’t think they blame the setters). If I get the chance I’ll try to talk with them about it in Japan.

        You are correct, all toppers matched incorrectly. So perhaps there was something special about that problem. And I think what’s special is the volume was very “inviting”. It was very easy to grab without using the top and very “welcoming”. Reini Fichtinger (the chief setter) says that, in hindsight, they should have put the top outside the volume, attached to the wall. But again, that’s only obvious in hindsight.

        • OK, I’m glad we are coming closer :)
          One important difference, however, is who’s the one to blame (and therefore try to avoid this in the future). As much as I agree in general(!), athletes should know the rules and should learn something also from this incident. But what athletes should learn here are not the rules about (top) markings (they already know them), but “Be aware of the awkward solutions setters may prepare for you”.
          What disappoints me here is that IFSC (Greame represents it, AFAIK) seems perfectly happy with ‘climbers have made a mistake /they don’t know (respect) the rules / they are the ones to blame’, so I wouldn’t be surprised same or similar incidents will happen in the future. Only in future cases we might be not so lucky one top more or less wouldn’t change the rankings …

          • “Be aware of the awkward solutions setters may prepare for you”. I think that’s pretty important in modern competition bouldering. And I must say that in this case, I’m pretty much in Graeme’s camp. I think that athletes are to blame. Just imagine this situation happening in every world cup final of the season. By the time we get to Munich… will you be still blaming the route setters? or will you be thinking “why on earth do the keep matching incorrectly?!?!?!? pay attention people!”.

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    Trackbacks

    1. […] and an invalid top of W1 by Miho Nonaka (she matched on the volume and not on the top, just like Jongwon Chon did last week in […]

    2. […] threw away her final try on W1 by failing to match correctly. A very similar situation to that of Jongwon Chon in Chongqing, but with two big differences: during observation, climbers were specifically told which hold was […]

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