Koper, Slovenia, hosts the penultimate Lead World Cup of the season this weekend as athletes battle for Combined World Ranking points for an invitation to the Olympic Qualification Series (OQS) next year.
The Olympic Qualification Series Shadow
With a much-reduced field, 69 men and 71 women registered, athletes have a good chance to rack up some much-needed points to get invited to the OQS series next year. Not only are athletes battling to be in the top 48 of the Combined World Ranking, but they are also fighting to be in the top 4 of their country.
For France, Zélia Avezou and Fanny Gilbert are fighting it out for the fourth place, with Fanny only 53 points ahead of Zélia as Zélia’s strong World Championship Boulder performance does not contribute to Combined World Ranking. Zélia has already been selected for the combined European Continental Qualifier in Laval ahead of Fanny. Fanny missed out on early Lead World Cups due to an injury, so she will be looking for strong performances in Koper and Wujiang in two weeks to cement her place as the 4th best French.
The same is true for Team Japan, with the top 4 currently being Miho Nonaka, Nonaha Kume, Ryu Nakagawa & Futaba Ito, as Ai Mori has already qualified. Natsuki Tanii and Mia Aoyahi are in the top 48 but may miss out due to the country restrictions.
Still, athletes need to get into the top 48 after removing those already qualified and respecting country limits. Alannah Yip (CAN) is currently in 48th place for the Women and Jonas Utelli (SUI) for the men, with Maya Stasiuk (AUS) and Yuval Shimla (ISL) just outside in 49th place, respectively.
Janja Garnbret and Ai Mori are both registered for Koper. Janja has confirmed that Koper will be her last World Cup of the season, so she will want to go out on a high. Ai won last year and will want to show that she is the best Lead climber on the circuit after her World Championship win ahead of Janja.
The common finalists, including Jessica Pilz, Chaehyun Seo and Jain Kim, are all registered. There are 10 other Slovenian women registered, including gold World Cup medalist Vita Lukan and world championship silver medalist from 2019, Mia Krampl.
Natalia Grossman and Brooke Raboutou are both registered for the competition. Both are favourites for the single Olympic ticket at the Pan American Continental Qualifier in Chile in October.
For the Men, both Jakob Schubert and Adam Ondra are absent, but the young guns Sorato Anraku and Toby Roberts are both registered, and both are looking for their second World Cup gold.
Sascha Lehmann will want a strong performance after a disappointing World Championship, not making the finals of the Lead or Combined events.
Alex Megos and the Americans Sean Bailey, Jesse Gruper and Colin Duffy are also registered for the event. Team Japan brings 6 additional athletes, including Yoshiyuki Ogata, Masahiro Higuchi, and Taisei Homma. Though Luka Potocar won last year, he has yet to be able to replicate his form. Can he break through again at his home World Cup?
- 8 September Lead Qualification 09:00 - 13:45
- 8 September Men & Women Lead Semi-final 20:00-22:30
- 9 September Men Lead Final 20:00-21:00
- 9 September Women Lead Final 21:00-22:00
More details can be found on the IFSC Event page. All times are UTC+2.
Where to Watch
You will be able to watch on
- Eurosport Player within Europe,
- ESPN Latin America and the Olympic Channel for Central and South America
- TVRI in Indonesia
- The IFSC YouTube Channel for other countries
You can catch up on the competition 24 hours afterwards on the Olympic Channel.