The 2016 IFSC World Youth Championships took place in Guangzhou, China from the 7th to the 13th of November and saw a number of future climbing stars battle for honours. Individual Lead, Speed and Bouldering competitions were held for male and female competitors in three age categories: Youth B (14-15 years), Youth A (16-17 years) and Juniors (18-19 years). Competitors included the star of this year’s IFSC Women’s Lead World Cup Janja Garnbret and US climbers Margo Hayes and Kai Lightner.
There were worthy winners in each of the three female lead categories. Ashima Shiraishi, the climbing prodigy featured in this year’s Reel Rock 11, took home her second consecutive gold in the Female Youth B event after a dominant performance in which she topped every problem.
Slovenian climber Janja Garbret won this year’s Women’s IFSC Lead World Cup and, perhaps unsurprisingly, replicated her success at youth level with a comfortable win in the Youth A category. As the IFSC note on their website, Garnbret “can now officially be called Overall champion, world champion and world youth champion of Lead!” Good going.
Margo Hayes finished runner-up in the Youth A category last year but triumphed upon her graduation to the Junior ranks with a narrow win over Hannah Schubert, who tied the final but finished second following a countback to the semis.
Sam Avezou won his second gold in succession in the Male Youth B event, while Giorgio Bendazzoli fought off tough competiton from Kai Lightner in the Youth A event, rising seven holds above the American on the final problem to take home gold.
The Male Junior competition featured arguably the most surprising podium line up in the Lead events. Favourite Sascha Lehmann missed out on a place in the final altogether, while Ukraine’s Fedir Samoilov led the field through the semi-finals but failed to bag a medal in the final. Belgium’s Simon Lorenzi, Japan’s Yuki Hada and Swiss climber Dimitri Vogt took gold, silver and bronze, respectively.
Ashima Shiraishi, Janja Garnbret and Margo Hayes transferred their dominance in the female lead events to bouldering, with all three imperious in their respective categories. Shiraishi flashed three problems on the final day of competition to continue her remarkable World Youth Championship record of golds in every event she’s entered, while Garnbret topped every problem in the final to comfortably beat countrywoman Vita Lukan in the Youth A category.
Margo Hayes also topped out all of the problems in her final to beat her namesake, Britain’s Tara Hayes, to the Junior Bouldering gold. Congratulations to Ashima, Janja and Garnbret for a remarkable triple double gold triumph in Lead and Bouldering!
The male bouldering events were temporarily derailed by inhospitable weather. Qualification rounds were cancelled following a deluge of rain, pitching all the competitors straight into a semi-final battle for the six places available in the final.
Nathan Martin and Davide Marco Colombo fought a close duel in the Youth B field, with an exceptional flash of the final problem pushing Martin to gold ahead of his rival. In the Youth A event Kai Lightner made another strong push for gold but bagged a second silver in the end as Japan’s Keita Dohi squeezed in a top of the final problem just before the time deadline.
The Male Junior Bouldering event was keenly fought. The final problem caused the field few difficulties, with most competitors flashing it. However, the other problems posed a sterner test and only medallists Baptiste Ometz, Borna Cujic and Britain’s William Bosi topped another problem. Croatia’s Cujic distinuished himself from the field with a flash of the first problem that was worthy of the gold in itself.
Check out the embedded videos for some highlights of the action from this year’s IFSC World Youth Championships. Further videos and full results of the events, including the Speed and Combined competitions, can be found on the IFSC website.