Slovenian climber Janja Garnbret secured gold at the bouldering world championships in Hachioji, Japan, on Tuesday, topping the podium ahead of Akiyo Noguchi of Japan and Shauna Coxsey of the UK.
Garnbret was hot favourite for the title, having already secure the World Cup (a different tournament). She was the first climber to win all six events on the International Federal of Sport Climbing (IFSC) World Cup circuit.
Climbers accumulate points over the course of the annual World Cup series. The other events were in Switzerland, Russia, two in China, Germany and the US.
Bouldering is one of three sport climbing disciplines. The climbing takes place close to the ground, typically involving only a few moves. With no rope work and with little need for endurance, the moves can be very technical. Climbers have to get to the top of “problems” or can earn points by reaching a certain hold, known as a “zone”.
“It feels amazing. I had a lot of fun during the finals and I enjoyed climbing in front of the amazing crowd so it feels amazing to again be world champion,” Garnbret told Olympic Channel.
In the men’s competition, Czech Adam Ondra, one of the tournament favourites, cruised through the semi-finals, reaching more tops than anyone else, but could not manage a single “zone” in the final and failed to reach the podium.
Instead, Tomoa Narasaki made it a home win for the host nation, ahead of Jakob Schubert of Austria and Yannick Flohe of Germany. Narasaki said the victory meant he could compete in the remaining two disciplines this week – speed and lead – in a more relaxed frame of mind.
The tournament concludes next week with the combine – a competition where athletes compete in speed, lead and bouldering for an accumulative score. The result will decide the first 14 spots, seven per gender, at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Tokyo 2020 will mark climbing’s Olympic debut.