IFSC World Cup Brixen Results
Brixen, in the South Tyrol area of northern Italy, is a new location this year for the IFSC World Cup circuit. The town has an impressive facility—a large outdoor boulder wall and arena, with a roof and curtain structure that can seal it off from the elements if required. After time away in Asia and then the Salt Lake City double-header, the circuit now returns to the European Alps for the next six events.
In Brixen, the women and men competed on different days as the Boulder-only format of the event allowed more time to stretch the competition out over the weekend. The women climbed first and the powerful setting threw up some surprise results from the semifinal. Of the six finalists, only two (USA's Natalia Grossman and Miho Nonaka of Japan) had ever been finalists before and one of the finalists, China's Zhilu Luo was competing in her first ever World Cup. Japan showed that their impressive depth is not limited to the men's division, with three of the six finalists—Nonaka, plus Anon Matsufuji and Serika Okawachi. The other finalist was Germany's Hannah Meul, who has looked in good form all season but failed to progress from the semifinals previously. It should be noted that Janja Garnbret continued to skip boulder World Cup events, while frontrunners Oriane Bertone (FRA) and Brooke Raboutou (USA) also skipped this event.
In the final, Meul put in a stunning performance, climbing all four boulders in just six attempts. She was beaten by Natalia Grossman by the finest of margins, as Grossman also required six attempts for her four tops, but had flashed to the zone hold on one of her failed attempts, giving her one less zone attempt than the German. After looking under pressure in Salt Lake City, Grossman appeared to have returned to her relaxed style and indomitable form in Brixen. She leads the overall standings comfortably and has an unassailable lead for the overall title. Third went to the sensational Chinese newcomer, Luo, who looks to have a bright future ahead of her. Miho Nonaka was fourth and now sits in second for the season ranking, though both Raboutou and Bertone are within striking distance.
The setting for the men's semifinals was also very demanding of pure power, with one of the problems topped by only one of the 20 competitors in that round and nobody achieving four tops. Germany's Yannick Flohe impressed in the semi and stayed strong throughout the final, two tops in five attempts plus four zones giving him a decisive victory over Maximillian Milne (GBR). Third went to the returning Tomoa Narasaki of Japan. Yoshiyuki Ogata (JPN) finished fifth, the first time he hasn't been on the podium this season, but that consistency means he still holds a comfortable lead in the overall. Team Japan look to have the first three places for the overall secured and the real battle is for second, with Tomoa's return from covid allowing him to sneak past Kokoro Fujii (JPN). Fujii's results have been inconsistent this year, with a win and podiums, but also failing to make finals at more than one event—he was ninth in Brixen. Of course, finishing ninth behind Jakob Schubert and one place ahead of Alexander Megos is no mean feat and it just shows how competitive the men's division is.