Please note: this article has periodic updates added to it both in the main text and towards the end, where it provides an overview of the 2017 World Cup series in bouldering. Scroll down for the latest on the 2017 World Cup series.
Navi Mumbai will host once again a World Cup in bouldering, part of the annual series held by the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC).
The event is scheduled for June 2017 in Vashi. As before, the 2017 Indian edition is being anchored by the Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF), Girivihar – Mumbai’s oldest mountaineering club and Meraki Sport and Entertainment. An official statement by the organizers (issued on April 21, 2017) did not mention the venue or the exact dates of the competition. Last year the World Cup was held at the CIDCO Exhibition Centre in Vashi. While the venue will be the same as last year, the dates are being finalized, a spokesperson for the organizers had said, when contacted. On May 3, the spokesperson informed that the venue has been booked and June 24 and 25 – earlier announced as provisional dates – have been confirmed as dates for the 2017 edition of the World Cup in Navi Mumbai .
The 2017 series, already underway, happens in the shadow of sport climbing being included as a discipline for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. In 2016, India as host country, had fielded a large team to compete in the Navi Mumbai edition of the World Cup. However none of the Indian climbers made it past the first round. This time around, preparations are more comprehensive. Ahead of the event in June, a team of Indian climbers are being trained in Europe, where besides training under expert coaches, they will also participate in promotional competitions in Italy and Slovenia. While the team selection was done by IMF, the expense of this training is being completely borne by Girivihar, courtesy funds granted earlier by Tata Trusts, the statement said. The club has also launched a crowd funding campaign. The team of eight climbers proceeding to Europe had recently met the Minister of State for Youth Affairs & Sports, Mr Vijay Goel, in New Delhi.
The 2016 World Cup held in Navi Mumbai, received positive feedback with some including it among the best of that year’s competition series. It was additionally noteworthy for two factors – thanks to the event an imported bouldering wall of international standards became available in the Mumbai region; of the event’s two walls, one was locally fabricated and it met the competition’s needs handsomely. The Japanese had dominated last year at Vashi, winning four of the six podium finishes on offer. Kokoro Fujii and Miho Nonaka had topped the competition in the men’s and women’s categories respectively.
Each IFSC World Cup can feature one or more of sport climbing’s three main disciplines – lead climbing, speed climbing and bouldering. The World Cup series resembles Formula One. Every competition concludes with a podium finish and the points accumulated at each World Cup are aggregated at the end of the series to announce the year’s top three winners for each discipline. Similarly at year end, overall winners are also announced spanning all three disciplines. As in 2016, Navi Mumbai will be hosting in 2017 too, a World Cup in bouldering. This discipline of climbing does not require the athlete to climb high. But the moves are very difficult. Gear involved is minimal. The athlete uses rock climbing shoes and a chalk bag. The floor is furnished with crash pads to cushion falls from the wall.
At the time of writing this report, World Cup events in bouldering for the 2017 season had already taken place in Meiringen, Switzerland and Chongquing, China. As of April 22, the top three athletes with maximum points yet in the series were: Men – Aleksei Rubtsov – 145 points (Russia), Kokoro Fujii – 137 (Japan), Jongwon Chon – 128 (Korea); Women – Shauna Coxsey – 180 (Great Britain), Janja Garnbret – 147 (Slovenia), Stasa Gejo – 102 (Serbia) and Miho Nonaka – 102 (Japan). In terms of national team ranking, the top three countries were: Japan – 618, Slovenia – 264 and France – 262. Two World Cups down, is early days in the competition series.
SHAUNA COXSEY AND KEITA WATABE TRIUMPH AT NANJING, JAPAN ENHANCES LEAD
The women’s bouldering competition at the World Cup in Nanjing, China, held over April 29-30, 2017, was won by Shauna Coxsey (Great Britain), Janja Garnbret (Slovenia) and Miho Nonaka (Japan) in that order. Similarly, the winners in the men’s competition were Keita Watabe (Japan), Tomoa Narasaki (Japan) and Jernej Kruder (Slovenia). The top three athletes in the women’s section at this stage were Shauna Coxsey – 280 points (Great Britain), Janja Garnbret – 227 (Slovenia) and Miho Nonaka – 167 (Japan). The same for men were: Keita Watabe – 220 (Japan), Jongwon Chon – 183 (Korea) and Tomoa Narasaki – 169 (Japan). With Nanjing done, the top three national teams in the bouldering World Cup series were Japan (1008 points), Slovenia (452) and Great Britain (422).
JANJA GARNBRET AND ALEKSEI RUBTSOV WIN AT HACHIOJI
Janja Garnbret of Slovenia and Aleksei Rubtsov of Russia earned top honors at the IFSC World Cup in bouldering held over May 6-7, 2017 at Hachioji, Japan. In the women’s bouldering competition, the top three winners were Janja Garnbret, Akiyo Noguchi (Japan) and Miho Nonaka (Japan), respectively. In the men’s competition the top three winners were Aleksei Rubtsov, Tomoa Narasaki (Japan) and Keita Watabe (Japan). Post Hachioji the overall ranking among women for the ongoing 2017 World Cup series in bouldering are Shauna Coxsey (335 points), Janja Garnbret (327) and Miho Nonaka (232). The top three athletes among men at the end of the Hachioji round were Keita Watabe (285), Aleksei Rubtsov (252) and Tomoa Narasaki (249). The top three national teams in the series were Japan (1372), Slovenia (568) and France (564).
(The author, Shyam G Menon, is a freelance journalist based in Mumbai.)