Excitement is building as The Boulders Climbing Gym in Central Saanich prepares to host the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) Speed World Cup (May 17) and the 2015 Climbing Escalade Canada (CEC) National Youth and Open Sport Climbing Championships (May 16-18). The IFSC Speed World Cup will be of particular interest on this weekend, as this marks the first time ever that the IFSC will be holding a Speed World Cup event outside of Europe or Asia. Athletes from a number
of countries, including Canada, the United States, Russia, China, Iran, the Czech Republic , the Ukraine, Poland, Italy and a number of others are expected to compete to see who can be the fastest up the 15-metre Peninsula Co-Op Speed Wall.
Two particular athletes to watch at the event will be the current official world record holder Danyl Boldyrev from the Ukraine and Czech climber Libor Hroza, who are ranked #1 and #2 respectively in the world. Boldyrev blasted up the wall in 5.6 seconds at the IFSC World Championships last season to claim the officialworld record from Hroza – who had set it twice in 2014 – but just this past weekend (April 26) at the Sport Climbing Association of British Columbia (SCBC) Provincial Championships at The Boulders, Hroza surpassed that record, winning gold in a time of 5.587 seconds. The record is unofficial as the SCBC Provincials were not an IFSC sanctioned event, so rest assured Hroza will be gunning to get his world record back officially when he goes head to head with Boldyrev on May 17.
VIDEO: Libor Hroza surpassing world record speed climbing time at SCBC Provincials, April 26, 2015
Also racing on the men’s side will be Canadian Speed record holder Robert Stewart-Patterson, who set the most recent mark of 6.667 seconds last Saturday in a qualifying run at the SCBC Provincials. Stewart-Patterson is coming off a successful 2014 World Cup season that included an eighth place finish at the World Cup event in Mokpo, Korea. Also competing will North Vancouver’s Sean McColl and Victoria’s Tristen Gosselin. McColl is the two-time (2012, 2014) defending IFSC World Overall Champion, while Gosselin won
gold in the Junior age division at the 2015 SCBC Provincials and was crowned 2015 BC Champion in both lead and speed.
On the women’s side, the #1 and #2 ranked women in the world, Russia’s Maria Krasavina and current women’s world record holder (7.856 seconds) Julia Kaplina will be the odds on favourites to win and vie for a new world record mark. Also watch for the Polish duo of Klaudia Buczek and Aleksandra Rudzinska or French climber Anouck Jaubert to vie for the title. Ranked fourth and sixth in the world respectively, Buczek is coming off a silver medal performance at the 2014 World Championships, while Rudzinska, a three-time World Youth Champion, including gold here at The Boulders in 2013, finished right behind Buczek at the 2014 Worlds, taking home the bronze. Jaubert is ranked third in the world and had an impressive six podium finishes at World Cup events in 2014.
Also racing will be The Boulders own duo of Alison Stewart-Patterson and Elena Moss. Stewart-Patterson is the Canadian Women’s record holder in speed (11.541 seconds) and has been the BC Provincial champion in the sport for the past two years. Moss is the 2015 BC Champion in the Youth A category and is coming off a seventh place finish at the 2014 World Youth Championships in New Caledonia. Iran’s Farnaz Esmaeilzadeh could also be a contender. Esmaelizadeh has been training at The Boulders in advance of the event and at the SCBC Provincials on April 26, set a sub-nine second practice time and a qualifying time of 9.02 seconds, which if she can duplicate on May 17, should put her near the leaders.
“Having the IFSC Speed World Cup and the CEC Nationals here at The Boulders is extremely exciting for us,” said The Boulders Board Chair and Event Organizer Kimanda Jarzebiak. “Not only because it is the first time such an event [the Speed World Cup] has been held outside Europe or Asia, but also because of the amazing competition we will no doubt see between Libor Hroza and Daniel Boldyrev as they vie for a new world record. In addition, our up-and-coming Canadian athletes in both lead and speed who will be attending the CEC Nationals will have a great opportunity to watch these world class athletes in action and learn what it takes to perform at the international level.”
Speaking of the CEC National Championships, they will feature the best youth and open climbers in the country, as well as a number from the United States, competing in a range of age categories in both speed climbing and difficulty climbing. Canadian youth climbers will be vying for spots of the Canadian National team that will go on to participate in the 2015 World Youth Championships in Arco, Italy on August 28 to September 6, 2015.
Over 100 athletes are expected to compete at the Nationals, with the bulk of those coming from British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario. Registration for the event is not yet closed and final numbers of registrant should be known closer to the competition date.
“Our sport is growing rapidly across the country and we expect the competition at the 2015 Nationals to be some of the best yet,” said Jarzebiak. “Those competing at the 2013 Nationals that were hosted here at The Boulders, as well as the 2014 Nationals that were hosted in Montreal, put on a fantastic show for all the fans and we expect nothing less than that this year.”
The 2015 CEC National Championships begin at 8:00 am on Saturday May 16 with qualifying climbs in the Difficulty discipline for Youth B and C. These will run until approximately 1:30 pm, with qualifying in the Youth A, Junior and Open categories following from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Practice and qualifying rounds for the Speed discipline will run from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm for Youth A, Junior and Open and again from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm for Youth B and C. On Sunday May 17 Difficulty Semi-Finals will begin at 9:15 am for all age groups and go until approximately 1:15 pm. Finals in the Difficulty discipline will take place on Monday May 18 beginning at 9:15 am, while the Speed finals will begin at 12:30 pm. Award ceremonies for the Nationals will then follow at 3:00 pm.
The IFSC Speed World Cup will begin with practice and qualifying rounds at 2:00 pm on Sunday May 17 and run until approximately 5:00 pm. Final rounds will begin at 6:00 pm and run until approximately 7:30 pm with Awards to follow at 8:00 pm.
Note to Media: The speed competition runs fairly quickly and can sometimes end well before the scheduled end times. Media is urged to be on-time for the start-times of the sessions so as not to miss the top athletes in action.
The Boulders Climbing Gym is located at Stelly’s Secondary School in Central Saanich (1627 Stelly’s Cross Road). Admission to all events is free. Free parking is available at the school but will be limited.
For full media release, please click here.
-Christian J. Stewart | Media Coordinator, The Boulders Climbing Gym