Sorato Anraku won his first Lead gold medal in Briançon last weekend ahead of Taisei Homma and Satone Yoshida. He became the first Japanese athlete to win gold medals in Lead and Boulder World Cups.
The Japanese team dominated the whole competition. First, all nine athletes made it into the semi-finals. Then, seven would reach the final from the semi-final round, with Sorato Anraku and Masahiro Higuchi topping the route. Only Hannes Puman would break the Japanese dominance, coming third in the semi-finals. The other two Japanese men would come 11th and 12th. Stefano Ghisolfi had a good qualification round but made a few mistakes in the semi-final and would finish 14th. As Stefano was the only previous winner in Briançon, we would have a new winner this weekend.
The first athlete out was Yoshiyuki Ogata, known more for his bouldering than lead. He made good progress through the route, easily managing the early dynamic movements. He would make good progress on the long headwall, falling 4 holds below the top. He would not be awarded a plus for making a positive movement to the next hold, which would prove crucial. Satone Yoshida and Taisei Homma would reach the same place as Yoshiyuki but were judged to have made a positive movement to the next hold, earning a plus and moving above Yoshiyuki.
Hannes Puman would only reach hold 39 on the 53 hold-long route, fighting for every hold from the start of the headwall. Masahiro Higuchi could not repeat his semi-final performance and fell on the move after Hannes.
Sorato Anraku came out last after finishing first in the semi-finals on count back to the qualification round. He climbed calmly and in control the whole way. He would be the only climber to hang onto hold 50, securing the win. Sorato would top off his victory by topping out the route.
Winning the World Cup means Sorato is the only Japanese athlete with Boulder and Lead gold medals. He is also among 11 athletes to have won Lead and Boulder gold medals, including Toby Roberts, Adam Ondra, and Jakob Schubert.
- 7 out of 8 finalists being from one country is a new record. The record was previously held by France when in Geneva, Aix-les-Bain, Moscow and Villach in 1995, they had 6 French athletes in the final.
- As part of the Paris 2024 Olympics, Briançon was selected as a Games Preparation Center for the Olympics. With this new investment, the old Briançon wall was dismantled last August to make way for the new one, which opened on 13th July, the day before the World Cup started. The wall will be part of the Briançon Serre-Chevalier Vallée sports park, which eventually includes a skate park, rugby stadium and other facilities.
- Jordi Poles, the son of Grégory Poles, the wall architect, competed in the Briançon World Cup. He reached the semi-finals in his second Lead competition and finished 23rd.
- Sorato Anraku (JPN) Top
- Taisei Homma (JPN) 49+
- Satone Yoshida (JPN) 49+
- Yoshiyuki Ogata (JPN) 49
- Shion Omata (JPN) 44+
- Masahiro Higuchi (JPN) 40+
- Hannes Puman (SWE) 39
- Haruki Uemura (JPN) 37+