Edinburgh Leisure | Monday 5th September 2022 0:05am
World's best climbers descend on Edinburgh for Speed and Lead climbing World Cup
Olympic gold medallists Janja Garnbret (23) and Alberto Ginés López (19) are amongst 189 athletes from 26 countries who will battle it out for victory in the Scottish capital this September 9-11 in the IFSC World Cup 2022.
The competition’s arrival on UK shores has been a dramatic and exciting event. Earlier this year the original destination, China, in the face of an escalating COVID-19 pandemic, pulled out of hosting. With less than ten weeks to go the UK stepped forward and took the opportunity to stage a climbing World Cup in the UK's largest climbing arena, EICA: Ratho in Edinburgh, for the first time since 2017.
Danil Boldyrev (30), a Ukraine Speed master who topped the podium at the recent European Championships in Munich, will be competing alongside teammate Tkach Yaroslav, whose flights to the competition have been funded by the British Mountaineering Council, with local hosts providing accommodation.
The USA promises to bring the action as Natalia Grossman (21) continues on her incredibly successful world cup campaign with a total of eight podium finishes so far, and with Colin Duffy (18), the first athlete to place top spot in both lead and boulder disciplines at the Innsbruck edition in June.
GB has a steely female line-up, with Molly Thompson-Smith (24) set to give it her all in one of the final international competitions before Olympic qualifiers next year, Hannah Slaney (22) who’ll be looking to improve on her 7th place lead final finish at the same venue during the 2017 World Cup and rising star Erin McNeice (18) who made finals at the 2022 Lead Continental Cup in Zilina, Slovakia.
The male lead athletes are not short of strength in depth, with current favourites Hamish Mcarthur (20), Max Milne (21), and Jim Pope (23) – GB’s highest-ranking athlete at the recent European championships – all set to consolidate strong performances across the world cup season.
Taking on the 15-metre speed wall will be recent record-holder Rafe Stokes (17), who hit sub-six seconds at the Youth World Championships in Dallas last month, joined by teammates Matthew Fall (20) and Saveena Fillingham (17).
Molly Thompson-Smith, BMC Ambassador and GB Climber, said: “I’m feeling psyched after finishing my bouldering season on a high and I can’t wait to tie in for another Lead World Cup – this time on home soil. It’s a different experience competing in front of a home crowd with friends and family there to support, so I’ll be going out there ready to enjoy the experience and hopefully put on a good show for the Brits!
“I already feel so motivated for next year and I'll be using this event to perfect my process, and take some confidence into this winter’s training ahead of a big year of Olympic qualification!"
The competition is a welcome return for the IFSC to Edinburgh, which last hosted the European Championships in Lead and Speed in 2019 and last staged a World Cup event in 2017. The venue is the largest and only climbing centre in the UK with international standard competition walls for Lead and Speed. Set in an outdoor quarry it has 300 known routes in sport and traditional climbing, ranging in difficulty from Grades 2 to 8b.
Lorraine Brown, Head of Performance at GB Climbing, said: “Tickets for this event sold out at lightning-speed which shows the appetite from the UK public to come along to a major, international climbing event on home soil. From those that climb regularly to others who aren’t familiar with the sport, the high adrenaline nature of climbing is hooking people – from novices to enthusiasts!
“We look forward to hosting what is set to be a very special event and want to extend a special welcome to the athletes from Ukraine who are able to join us while the unjustified suffering continues in their home nation. The world of sport remains united.”
Stuart Younie CEO, Mountaineering Scotland, said: “There is a real buzz in the Scottish climbing community for the fast approaching Lead and Speed World Cup at Edinburgh International Climbing Arena. Especially with the confirmation of six Scottish Athletes in the GB Climbing Team competing over the weekend. We look forward to cheering them on as they compete at home against the world’s best and inspiring the next generation of young climbers.”
Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland Director of Events, said: “Scotland is one of the best places in the world to experience events with our atmospheric crowds, iconic venues and picture-perfect backdrops providing the perfect stage for world-leading sporting and cultural events.
“EventScotland is delighted to be supporting the return of international climbing to Scotland as Edinburgh hosts the 11th round of the IFSC World Cup Series 2022 and we look forward to welcoming everyone for what will be a truly exciting weekend of world-class climbing.”
Victoria Harper, Manager at Edinburgh Leisure’s EICA: Ratho, said: “My team and I are delighted to be hosting the 11th round of the IFSC Lead and Speed World Cup Series 2022 from 9-11 September and to show off our amazing climbing and training facilities at EICA: Ratho to visitors from near and far.
“The event is the first elite-level international climbing event to be held at the venue since we hosted the IFSC Lead and Speed European Championships in October 2019 and the IFSC World Cup Climbing and Paraclimbing Cup in September 2017. It brings together the best climbers in the world as the Great Britain Climbing Team finetunes its preparations ahead of a series of Olympic qualifying events next year.”
Great Britain Climbing Team Edinburgh IFSC World Cup 2022 line up: