Garnbret, Mori and Bertone get Olympic invites
- Monday 14th August 2023
Janja Garnbret, Ai Mori and Oriane Bertone all podiumed on Day 11 in the Combined World Championship to secure the first three Olympic qualifications for the Paris 2023 Games.
The highest eight finishers in the Combined Semi-final from Day 6 all went in a three-hour showdown on Friday evening. As usual, the Final started with the Boulder round and that proved to be both a tense and low-scoring round. Then, and with only 30 minutes or so rest, the climbers were straight back out for the Lead round to see who would get the all-important Olympic qualification invites.
W1 was a pretty brutal opening boulder demanding both power and good coordination. Jessica Pilz was the first to top, on her second attempt. Only Brooke Raboutou and Janja Garnbret could follow suit – both flashing it. It was the sort of bloc that was always going to be very testing for the Lead specialists like Ai Mori and Jain Kim but surprisingly, Boulder specialists Oriane Bertone and Miho Nonaka also failed to top. Not only did that get their Boulder round off to a poor start but it put ramped up the pressure for them for the rest of their competition.
A super techie slab, W2 featured a ‘facing the crowd, spin round move we’d seen in some of the earlier Boulder and Lead competitions this year. Some climbers successfully followed that sequence whilst others crafted alternative and equally successful sequences. Whilst none of the eight finalists managed a flash, Garnbret and Raboutou topped on their second attempt, Mori and Bertone topped on their third attempt whilst Pilz took a fourth attempt.
At the halfway stage Janja Garnbret held a marginal lead over Brooke Raboutou and Jessica Pilz. Mori and Bertone were trailing behind with their single top but still in contention but perhaps the surprise was that Miho Nonaka had yet to top anything. At the bottom of the rankings Anastasia Sanders and Jain Kim were both having a bleak time of the final and falling behind considerably.
W3 was a brutal looking bloc tackling the steepest part of the bouldering wall. Starting via a series of big rounded macros the powerful finish was on rounded tufa-type volumes. With the exception of Janja Garnbret who flashed W3, all the others failed to top. The final wasn’t over, yet whilst Garnbret’s stranglehold was almost complete the real battle was for second and third.
The final boulder W4 featured a paddle start and then a savage-looking sideways combination jump. Somewhat against the flow of the final Miho Nonaka topped on her second attempt; having caught a foot drag on the starting paddle Miho launched sideways in a blistering attack on the final sideways leap and managed to land the jump much to her and the crowd's delight. No one – not even Janja Garnbret - managed to replicate what Miho Nonaka had achieved, however.
Whilst W4 was the first and only problem of the entire week that Janja Garnbret had failed to top, she still finished in first place on a dominant score of 84.9pts. Brooke Raboutou came in second with 69.8pts closely followed by Jessica Pilz on 69pts. Oriane Bertone and Miho Nonaka finished on 54.7pts and 54.4pts respectively, Ai Mori trailed on 44.5pts whilst Anastasia Sanders and Jain Kim ended the round on 24.6pts and 14.1pts respectively.
Having finished the Boulder round in 8th place Jain Kim needed something pretty special on the Lead wall if she was to get close to the medals. Climbing super steady but with great determination, Jain Kim simply cruised up the wall only falling a few holds off the very top. In the end, Jain Kim’s 92.1pts Lead score was very impressive; sadly her deficit from the Boulder round however penalised her overall score massively and she finished in 5th place. Still, it was a remarkable performance from Jain Kim, who has only just returned to competitions after the birth of her daughter. Oriane Bertone and Miho Nonaka both fell on 39.1pts each whilst Anastasia Sanders fought on a little more for 45.1pts; respectively they finished the final in 6th, 7th and 8th place.
Jessica Pilz had been in battle mode all evening and she climbed onto the headwall before falling with 88.1pts in the Lead and 157.1pts overall. Brooke Raboutou, typically a solid performer in lead, fell surprisingly at 68pts; her overall finishing score was 137.8pts. When Brooke Raboutou fell early and with just two climbers remaining, Ai Mori and Janja Garnbret, Jessica Pilz was confirmed as one of the Olympic qualifiers. Brook Raboutou’s early fall also mean that Ai Mori was in with a chance of a podium and Olympic qualification – assuming of course she got a very high Lead score.
Climbing under immense pressure Ai Mori’s second to last climb was little short of remarkable; surpassing Jain Kim’s defiant 92.1pt finally, Ai Mori fell with a score of 96.1pts and hence an overall score of 140.6pts – more than Brooke Raboutou but less than Jessica Pilz. As often the case, the final outcome all depended on the final climber, Janja Garnbret. Having lost out to Ai Mori in the lead World Championship earlier in the week, Janja Garnbret looked determined – as you’d expect – when she started her climb. The crowd and Garnbret, of course, would have loved to see a top of the route but just as Jain Kim’s left foot had done earlier in the round Garnbret fell when her left foot parted company with a volume high on the route.
Falling with 92.1pts – the same as Jain Kim – Janja Garnbret’s combined score was 177pts and the Combined Gold was hers – her second of the World Championships. Jessica Pilz was confirmed in 2nd with Silver whilst Ai Mori finished in 3rd with Bronze. As a result Janja Garnbret, Jessica Pilz and Ai Mori each qualified for the Paris Olympics taking the first three tickets and forcing the remaining finalists with work still to do to qualify.
Speaking to Shauna Coxsey immediately after her win Janja described her feelings saying, “I feel incredible and relieved at the same time. It feels so amazing today. I felt so composed today actually, I was climbing the Lead route flawlessly and I am just incredibly happy right now that I have qualified, even though I have qualified once before, you don’t get tired of this feeling of qualifying for an Olympics. So, my second Olympics – here we go.”
Watch a video of highlights from the Women’s Combined (B&L) Final below…