Preview of the first IFSC Lead and Speed World Cups of 2024 in Wujiang

Jain Kim competes in her 100th Lead World Cup and the fastest speed climbers race in the season's first Lead & Speed World Cup.

Jain Kim celebrating her 30th World Cup gold in Chamonix 2023
Wujiang will be Jain Kim's 100th Lead World Cup © Jan Virt / IFSC

The season’s first Lead and Speed World Cups start tomorrow in Wujiang, China, for the 9th time. We won’t have to worry about the rain as we did in Keqiao, as the competition will be held indoors in a purpose-built venue.

Garnbret returns to competing after her win in Keqiao and is going for her 27th Lead Gold medal. Sorato Anraku won 3 Lead World Cup gold medals last year to seal the Series win. He is one of the favourites for the Lead World Cup.

Wujiang will be Jain Kim’s 100th Lead World Cup, a legend of the sport who is pursuing an Olympic ticket this year. She is among the few athletes to beat Janja Garnbret in a Lead World Cup in the last 5 years, winning in Inzai in 2019.

We also see the fastest people from around the world who have turned up in China, including Leonardo Veddriq, Sam Watson, Peng Wu, Ola Miroslaw, Natalia Kaluchka, and Emma Hunt. Will we see a world record or two broken in Wujiang?

Who to Watch out for in Lead

There will be seven 2024 Olympians competing in Wuijiang in Lead. Janja Garnbret and local favourite Yuetong Zhang are the only female 2024 Olympians competing. Jessica Pilz and Oceana Mackenzie are not competing after Keqiao. We will, however, see Toby Roberts, Sorato Anraku, Tomoa Narasaki, Colin Duffy, and Campbell Harrison compete in Wujiang. Only Jakob Schubert is missing Wujiang after competing in Keqiao.

Sorato Anraku competeing at the 2023 Wujiang Lead World Cup last year
Sorato Anraku is one of the favourites at the World Cup © Dimitris Tosidis / IFSC

With Ai Mori absent, Garnbret is a clear favourite to win her 27th Lead World Cup gold. Jessica Pilz will also not be competing, and neither will Brooke Raboutou or Natalia Grossman. 2019 World Cup series winner Chaehyun Seo and 30-time Lead gold medal winner Jain Kim are most likely to challenge Garnbret.

Other athletes to watch out for include Japanese Lead specialist Natsuki Tanii, World Cup winner Laura Rogora and World Cup medalist Molly Thompson-Smith. Manon Hilly and Olympic Silver Medalist Miho Nonaka will also compete. Yuetong Zhang won her Olympic ticket after a strong lead performance and is the home crowd’s favourite.

The male field is far more contested. Although Sorato Anraku won the Lead World Cup Series last year, there is also the rest of the Japanese team, with 11 athletes attending the Lead World Cup in Wujiang. Last year, 6 of the top 10 in the Series were from Japan. Watch out for the Lead specialists Shion Omata, Taisei Homma, Ao Yurikusa and Masahiro Higuchi, as well as the all-rounders Tomoa Narasaki and Yoshiyuki Ogata.

Toby Roberts has 2 Lead World Cup medals so far © Jan Virt / IFSC

We are missing the “old guys” in Wujiang, as Jakob Schubert, Adam Ondra, and Alex Megos are not competing. However, we will see Lead World Cup winners Toby Roberts, Colin Duffy, Sascha Lehmann and Luka Potocar compete in Wujiang.

★ ★ ★ Janja Garnbret
★ ★ Chaehyun Seo, Jain Kim, Natsuki Tanii
Laura Rogora, Miho Nonaka, Manon Hilly
★ ★ ★ Sorato Anraku, Toby Roberts
★ ★ Shion Omata, Taisei Homma, Ao Yurikusa, Masahiro Higuchi
Sascha Lehmann, Tomoa Narasaki, Yoshiyuki Ogata, Colin Duffy

Who to Watch out for in Speed

Last year, we saw 4 athletes run below 5 seconds in an IFSC World Cup: Veddriq Leonardo, Kiromal Katibin, Rahmad Adi Mulyono and Raharjati Nursamsa. Since then, we have seen 10 athletes post videos going sub 5 and many more claiming the feat.

In Wujiang, we will see 11 2024 Olympians competing in Speed, including 5 male athletes: Adi Mulyono, Julian David, Sam Watson, Jinbao Long, and 2023 World Champion Matteo Zurloni. We will also see Lijuan Deng, Emma Hunt, Sarah Tetzlaff, Piper Kelly, World Record holder Aleksandra Miroslaw and World 2023 World Champion Desak Made Rita Kusuma Dewi.

Aleksandra "Ola" Miroslaw breaking her own Speed World Record at the European Speed Qualifier in Italy
Ola Miroslaw holds the current World Record in a time of 6.242 seconds © Jan Virt / IFSC

We will see 25 Chinese athletes competing in Speed, 11 women, including Di Nui and Deng and 14 men, including Liang Zhang, ‌Xinshang Wang, Jianguo Long, Long Cao and Peng Wu in addition to Jinbao Long.

The Indonesian team are sending 11 athletes, 5 men and 6 women. Their team includes World Champion and Olympian Made Rita Kusuma Dewi, Nurul Iqamah, Rajiah Sallsabillah, World Record holder Leonardo Veddriq‌, former World Record holder Kiromal Katibin, Aspar Aspar and Olympian Adi Mulyono.

Sam Watson is one of the fastest young speed climbers © Lena Drapella / IFSC

The USA is sending 11 athletes, including Olympians Watson, Hunt and Kelly, World Championship silver medalist Noah Bratchi, and former USA Speed record holder John Brosler.

There are six athletes competing from Poland, including Miroslaw, Aleksandra and Natalia Kalucka, Anna Brozek, ‌Patrycja Chudziak and the veteran Marcin Dzienski.

We will also see Lubin European Continental Cup winners Franziska Ritter and Gian Luca Zodda. We will also see Leslie Romero Pérez, Beatrice Colli, Capucine Viglione, Pierre Rebreyend, Ludovico Fossali, and Ukrainian’s Yaroslav Tkach and ‌Hryhorii Ilchyshyn.

★ ★ ★ Ola Miroslaw
★ ★ Natalia Kalucka, Emma Hunt, Desak Made Rita Kusuma Dewi, Lijuan Deng
Di Nui, Franziska Ritter, Rajiah Sallsabillah
★ ★ ★ Leonardo Veddriq, Samuel Watson, Peng Wu
★ ★ Matteo Zurloni, Jinbao Long, Rahmad Adi Mulyono, Kiromal Katibin
Liang Zhang, Long Cao, Jinguao Long, Gian Luca Zodda

Friday 12th April

  • Lead Qualification 09:00 (CHN, UTC+8) - Not streamed
  • Speed Qualification 19:00 (CHN, UTC+8) / 13:00 (CEST, UTC+2) / 7:00 (EDT, UTC-4)

Saturday 13th April

  • Lead Semi-finals 15:00 (CHN, UTC+8) / 9:00(CEST, UTC+2) / 3:00 (EDT, UTC-4)
  • Speed finals 19:30 (CHN, UTC+8) / 13:30 (CEST, UTC+2) / 7:30 (EDT, UTC-4)

Sunday 14th April

  • Lead Finals 19:00 (CHN, UTC+8) / 13:00 (CEST, UTC+2) / 7:00 (EDT, UTC-4)

Follow the live results on the IFSC Results page or the IFSC World Cup App on iOS or Android.

Where to Watch

You can watch the competition 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.

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