Sorato Anraku and Ai Mori Win Gold in the last World Cup of 2023 in Wujiang

Sorato Anraku and Ai Mori won their third Lead World Cup gold medals as Japan dominated the World Cup in Wujiang, China.

Ai Mori reaching the headwall on the difficult final route in Wujiang
Ai Mori wins her 3rd Lead World Cup gold medal © Dimitris Tosidis/IFSC

Sorato Anraku and Ai Mori won their third Lead World Cup gold medals as Japan dominates the World Cup in Wujiang, China, winning five out of six Lead medals.

Jessica Pilz (Austria) was the only non-Japanese athlete to win a medal. Her silver medal was enough to move ahead of Janja Garnbret (Slovenia) and win her first overall Lead World Cup title, with Garnbret second and Vita Lukan (Slovenia) third.

Ai Mori Wins Her Third World Cup Gold

The absence of Garnbret opened up the opportunity for other athletes to shine, and Ai Mori took advantage. She finished second behind Janja at the two other Lead World Cups she attended this season.

Mori was the only athlete to reach the lip of the headwall, eight holds from the top, climbing in a smooth and controlled style. Her win would be enough to move her into 4th in the Lead World Cup overall standings.

She is the most successful Japanese female Lead climber with 3 World Cup wins.

She said after the competition:

“Before climbing I was very nervous, but now I’ve won I’m very happy. I feel a lot of pressure, mostly that I put on myself, I just don’t feel confident. But if I don’t have confidence in myself I can’t win, so I have to tell myself a lot I can do it.”

Pilz needed to finish fourth place or better to overtake Janja in the Lead World Cup overall.

Coming out fifth, she needed to navigate the compression section on black dual-tex fibreglass and reach hold 23, just over halfway, to finish in the top 4. Though there was a tricky moment as she entered the black section of the wall, she reached hold 23, guaranteeing herself fourth place and the overall title.

She continued through the traverse section, falling in the red sloper section, enough to win her second silver medal of the season and the overall title.

Jessica Pilz drops down while traversing right as she exits the black section of the final route.
Jessia Pilz is the 3rd Austrian woman to win the Lead World Cup overall after Angela Eiter and Johanna Ernst © Dimitris Tosidis / IFSC

On Instagram after the event, she wrote:

“Traveling to China for the last World Cup was a hard decision, but I am glad I did. I knew I had this little chance for the overall title if I performed really well. Definitely felt the pressure I put on myself with this little mission, but maybe that’s what I need sometimes 🙃 This title has been on my wish list since I started competing in World Cups 10 years ago 👵 What a way to end a long and wild season.”

Natsuki Tanii (Japan) was the only other athlete to navigate the compression sections before becoming unstuck on the traverse as she got stuck in a drop knee she could not get out of. This was enough for the third, winning her second World Cup medal.

Vita Lukan needed to finish fourth place or better to move ahead of Janja Garnbret in the Lead World Cup overall. However, she made a mistake in the semi-final, missing a jib on a volume and fell, finishing 12th. She finished third in the Lead World Cup overall based on her win in Briançon and third place in Koper.

Sorato Anraku Makes it 3 Golds

Sorato Anraku continued his domination on the World Cup circuit with his 3rd win of the year, extending his lead in the Lead World Cup overall.

He was tied with Taisei Homma in the qualification and semi-final rounds after both topped the semi-final route. They would be separated on time if they tied in the final. Anraku navigated the tricky clip in the red section, which caught Yoshiyuki Ogata and Taisei Homma out to reach the headwall and win the World Cup.

Sorato Anrauku resting with a toe hook before tacking the difficult red section.
Sorato Anraku won 3 lead gold medals this year and the Boulder and Lead World Cup overalls © Dimitris Tosidis / IFSC

He told the IFSC

“I’m just happy to win another medal here in Wujiang. I’m frustrated not to top the route though. I have the Asian Games next week so I will try there. I love climbing and I don’t want to stop. I’m going to carry on forever.”

Shion Omata managed to get four holds higher in the red section than Taisei Homma and Yoshiyuki Ogata to win the silver medal, his first IFSC World Cup medal. His second place in Wujiang moved him up to fourth in the Lead World Cup overall.

Taisei Homma was caught out by a tricky clip, like Ogata, and finished third despite finishing first in qualification and semi-finals. His third place in Wujiang was enough to move him into third in the Lead World Cup overall and win the bronze overall medal.

Though Alex Megos did not compete in Wujiang, he had enough of a buffer from his previous performances to win second place overall.



  1. Ai Mori (JPN)
  2. Jessica Pilz (AUT)
  3. Natsuki Tanii (JPN)


  1. Sorato Anraku (JPN)
  2. Shion Omata (JPN)
  3. Taisei Homma (JPN)

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