Amazing qualifying round gives a dynamic start to adidas ROCKSTARS 2016
adidas ROCKSTARS 2016 got underway with a bang today, when no less than 72 top climbers descended on the Porsche-Arena in Stuttgart this morning. This IFSC Masters Event is now into its 6th year and if anything the quality of the field and the route setting is increasing. The one word that kept cropping up from the athletes was “dynamic” when they were describing the boulders this morning and that certainly looked to be the case from the stands, with athletes jumping in all directions trying to solve the problems posed by the adidas route setters.
Reigning adidas ROCKSTARS Champion Megan Mascaneras (USA) flew out of the blocks this morning with a perfect clean sweep of 4 flashes on 4 boulders. When she came to the competition last year it was the first time she’d competed outside of her home country but she still took everything in her stride and won a thrilling final. She now has another year of experience under her belt and even at this early stage of the competition she looks in the sort of form that could see her recapture her title here. She has a full afternoon to recover now and said that her priority in the next 24 hours was to grow some skin back so that she could tackle the volume holds during the semi finals!
Not far behind Megan in second place was Janja Garnbret (SLO), fresh from winning the IFSC Lead World Championships in Paris last weekend. She flashed 3 boulders and topped the other on her second attempt today, commenting afterwards, “The boulders were also awesome, just really fun to climb. I really enjoyed them….they were bit dynamic, maybe the second one was a bit tricky at the beginning. It was maybe easier to read the others. I feel strong but we will see.”
Akiyo Noguchi (JAP), who won here in 2014, was third today, with Katja Kadic (SLO) in fourth and Petra Klingler (SUI), who just 6 days ago was picking up the IFSC World Boulder Championship, was 5th. She’s had a frantic week since her big win but is thoroughly enjoying the competition so far and looks ominously strong. After climbing she commented, “The situation (at adidas ROCKSTARS) is a lot more relaxed which means we talk much more together, we exchange impressions - sit together chat and have fun - and as a bonus there’s a competition! The route setting is amazing as well as the crowd in the semis and finals. For me personally it’s just a nice chance to once more climb and have fun.”
Elsewhere in the women’s qualifiers, all of the top athletes made it through safely and the crowd will be looking forward to seeing Mina Markovic (SLO), Miho Nonaka (JAP), Stasa Gejo (SER) as well as the other well known climbers who will be taking part tomorrow. In addition to Mina, we also have a few other athletes, including Jessica Pilz (AUT), who primarily compete in lead but couldn’t resist coming to Stuttgart. How they get on will be fascinating.
Competition in the men’s qualifiers was absolutely fierce, with a handful of potential finalists not even making the semis. Alexey Rubtsov (RUS), who has already won an IFSC Boulder World Cup this year, could only take 30th, and he’ll be joined in the stands tomorrow by David Firnenburg (GER) and Jeremy Bonder (FRA). All 3 climbers would have been hoping for a semi final spot at the very least but their absence speaks volumes about the strength in depth in male bouldering right now.
Alexey’s compatriot Rustam Gelmanov (RUS) has been in 3 ROCKSTARS finals but has never won. For a man with an overall Boulder World Cup title from 2012 and a World Cup already claimed this year, he is keen to fill the obvious gap in his trophy cabinet by taking the title here tomorrow. As ever with Rustam, he seemed relaxed after climbing this morning (despite only just making semis in 18th place) and commented, “Like every year, I’m really happy to be here. It’s more fun, it’s only bouldering. The boulders today were a really good style; technical style, just a bit powerful but not too much. I hope tomorrow it’s really hard boulders!”
Sergeii Topishko (UKR) who last year was part of the GORE-TEX® Be a Rockstar Contest, qualified one place ahead of Rustam in 17th. Baptiste Ometz (FRA), who won that competition last year, had a staggering day today and went into the semifinals in joint first place with 2015 overall IFSC Boulder World Cup Champion Jongwon Chon.
Previous winners of this competition Jernej Kruder and Sean McColl ((CAN) who has 3 titles) both went through without too much stress, as did Jakob Schubert (AUT), Domen Skofic (SLO) and Jan Hojer (GER). Sean has an extraordinary record here in Stuttgart and had this to say this morning, “At the adidas ROCKSTARS I have a 100% of the podiums, when I look back at the results of this competition it’s something quite amazing. Maybe it’s because I’m training for lead the most of the time and I’m still very fit for the boulders and I really like the style. But either way, it’s a lot of really strong competitors, I’m excited just to do another competition and I’m ready to have some fun.”
Tomorrow is shaping up to be something special so check out www.adidas-rockstars.com/live for updated semi final results and reports, and then be sure to watch the livestream of the final at 8.15 pm Stuttgart time.
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