Source : UIIA
New UIAA ice climbing world speed champions crowned
Under the relentless snow of Champagny-en-Vanoise, France, Maria TOLOKONINA (RUS) and Pavel BATUSHEV (RUS) were crowned speed champions at the 2017 UIAA Ice Climbing World Championships, partnered by The North Face Korea, on Sunday 5 February.
Maria Tolokonina, 29, with climbs of 8.76 and 11.77 defeated compatriot Ekaterina Feoktistova by a combined 1.24 second margin in the final two duels. Victory marks the crowning achievement for Tolokonina after a tremendous past two seasons. She finished the 2016 UIAA Ice Climbing season as the female world number 1 in lead and speed, and closed the most recent season as joint world number 1 in speed.
The men’s final was always going to be close. Kartashev and Batushev, 29, were the top ranked athletes going into the competition. Batushev with times of 6.68 – the second fastest of the weekend – and 7.21 took gold by 1.20.
Tolokonina (main image) and Batushev succeed Alexey Vagin and Ekaterina Koshcheeva as UIAA Ice Climbing World Champions – a title they will hold for the next two years. 45-year old Vagin returned to competition in Champagny after a brief hiatus and lost out to Batushev in the last eight of the men’s speed duel. Koshcheeva’s title defence ended in the semi-finals of the final round against Feoktistova. In the 3rd v 4th place climb she lost out to Nadezhda Gallyamova who took bronze. The men’s bronze medal was won by Leonid Malykh over Radomir Proshchenko.
To replay this morning’s live streaming please visit the UIAA YouTube channel.
Woonseon Shin (KOR) and HeeYong Park (KOR) are the 2017 UIAA Ice Climbing World Champions in lead.
72 men and 34 women started the lead competition on the famed ice structure of Champagny-en-Vanoise on Saturday. Only two would walk away from the French Alps with gold medals around their necks. By Sunday afternoon’s Finals, held under a deluge of snow, the field had been whittled down to eight men and eight women.
The men’s finals welcomed athletes from six different countries – Iran, Russia, Slovenia, South Korea, Switzerland and the Ukraine. On a route which demanded moves to be executed with precision and at a relentless speed, Russia’s Alexey Dengin set the standard with an impressive first climb. That was until the fifth athlete on the wall, HeeYong Park, 34, winner of the recent UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup season in lead, produced a display of dynamic, deft and dazzling ice climbing. Park was the first athlete to complete the course and with 46 seconds to spare. A marker was laid. Then came Nikolai Kuzovlev (RUS) who, after failing to podium in the speed competition, started like a man possessed. With just the last hold separating him from the top and at a speed faster than Park, a missed undercut cost proved fatal when he seemed ready to assume leadership of the competition. Only the last athlete to climb – 19-year old Swiss climber Yannick Glatthard – could oust Park from the leadership. In a performance which showed great maturity and concentration, Glatthard produced a silver medal display in completing the climb albeit shy of Park’s time. Gold for Park, silver for Glatthard, bronze for Kuzovlev.
The final eight women hailed from five countries – Ireland, Italy Russia, South Korea and Switzerland. The major turning point in the competition came when Han Na Rai Song (KOR), currently ranked number 1 in the world and fresh from three World Cup gold medals, lost control on both arms shortly into her climb. Misfortune which opened up an opportunity for the pursuing athletes. Fresh from winning a world title in speed, Maria Tolokonina produced a stunning performance only to fall when about to make her final clip; Italy’s Angelika Rainer with a measured, controlled and technically flawless climb reached the top. Only defending World Champion Woonseon Shin could now defeat her. Shin had to top the course and in a faster time than Rainer. The tension was palpable. Climbing with confidence and remaining unflustered by the pressure, Shin narrowly finished the route faster than Rainer. Gold was hers and in the process she defended the world title she won two years ago in Rabenstein. An outstanding Rainer claimed silver; Tolokonina bronze, no small feat for an athlete who had spent the morning dominating the women’s speed competition.
For all results click here
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