Wu and Miroslaw Win in Wujiang as Watson Set’s New Speed World Record

Watson breaks the world record, twice, and wins the silver medal, losing to Wu in the final. Miroslaw wins gold and nearly breaks her own world record.

Sam Watson and Peng Wu hold up each other's hands after the big final race.
Sam Watson and Peng Wu both ran 5 runs under 5 seconds © Nakajima Kazushige / IFSC

World Record holder Ola Miroslaw and home favourite Peng Wu won the gold medals at the Speed World Cup in Wujiang, China.

Sam Watson set a new world record of 4.859 seconds, then 4.789 seconds in qualification. He lost out to Peng Wu in the race for the gold medal after a little stumble low down and would have to settle for silver. He still recovered to finish in 5.11s. Wujiang was Watson's second World Cup medal after winning in Edinburgh in 2022.

Sam Watson celebrating his world record time © Nakajima Kazushige / IFSC

Watson told the IFSC about his World Record after his qualification

“Does breaking my own record count as getting [the world record] twice? I don’t know. I’m so excited. It’s a goal I talked about earlier. I said I wanted to be the world record holder. Why not me? Why can’t I do it? And you know what, I can. I can do it.”

Kiromal Katibin won the bronze medal race against Ludovico Fossali after falling in the semi-final against Peng Wu.

Natalia Kalucka won her fifth World Cup silver medal, and Jimin Jeong won the bronze medal, her first-ever IFSC Speed World Cup medal, with a personal best time of 6.62s to beat Aleksandra Kalucka.

The women's podium: Ola Miroslaw, Natalia Kalucka, and Jimin Jeong celebrating with their medals.
The women's podium: Ola Miroslaw, Natalia Kalucka, and Jimin Jeong © Nakajima Kazushige / IFSC

The World Cup was the fastest ever, with women needing to run faster than 7.25s to reach the final and Men faster than 5.25s. That is faster than the world record Kiromal Katibin set at the Salt Lake City World Cup 2021.

Emma Hunt was fastest in qualification, setting a new Pan-American record in 6.44s. A slip in her first run of the final meant she did not progress past the first round, finishing ninth.

Dive Deeper

Watson and Wu became the first non-Indonesian to run under 5 seconds in an IFSC World Cup. Both Wu and Watson ran under 5 seconds five times in the competition. Wu set a new personal best and Asian Speed Record in 4.864s in the semi-final against Kiromal Katibin.

Wu told the IFSC

"I’m so excited and happy. That’s all I can say really. In training I am always hovering around the five second mark and to do it consistently in competition is just a result of how well my winter training has gone and my training as a whole is, so I am happy with that."

Miroslaw ran the fastest time of the competition of 6.247 in the final, 0.005 off her own world record. Her slowest time in the final, 6.61, was still faster than any other athlete’s fastest time. Miroslaw struggled to find her flow in the qualification round, and she commented after the round that

"I think it was a really tough road to this gold. I had a lot of emotion in this competition after a not very good qualification. I had 24 hours to think about it with some really hard thoughts and I’m really happy that I handled it. It’s amazing because it proved to me that I can do this and find the right mindset."
Ola Miroslaw hugging Natalia Kalucka after the final run
Ola Miroslaw recovered from a difficult qualification round to run 6.61 or faster in every final run © Nakajima Kazushige / IFSC

2023 World Champion Desak Made Rita Kusuma Dewi false started in qualification on her second run, the only false start of the competition, knocking her out of the final.

Julian David and Sarat Tetzelof broke the Oceania Speed records, running 5.74 and 8.61 in qualification. The female Oceania record has stood since 2021 when Oceania Mackenzie set it at the Tokyo Olympics in 8.83s.

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