Laura Stöckler and Meichi Narasaki win gold at the Combined finals!

This Saturday, the 9th of September, the second Combined finals of this Climbing Youth World Championships took place. The Austrian Laura Stöckler secured the gold medal for herself! It is the first gold medal for the host country Austria at the Climbing Youth World Championships 2017. The Combined finals were tried out for the first time in an international competition. The six best Juniors competed in Speed, then Bouldering and last but not least Lead. Meichi Narasaki (JPN) won the Combined title.

This Saturday was heavily anticipated. The Combined format will be used at the Olympic Games in Tokio, when the fisrt Olympic medals for Climbing will be handed out. Six boys and girls of the Juniors qualified over the single disciplines for the Combined  finals. To create the ranks the ranking positions of the  single rounds are multiplied. If the climbers have the same amount of points, the climber who was in the lead in two rounds is the winner. To conclude, if someone wins once, comes in second once and third once he earns six points but loses against the climber who wins twice and comes in sixth once (because that climber has six points too, but was in the lead in two disciplines). Because of the multiplications wins in the single disciplines gain a lot of importance. 

Gold for the 17 year old Laura Stöckler (AUT)!

Laura Stöckler, the youngest starter, had a good kickoff and was on rank three after the Speed round. She confidently decided the small final for herself. Her teammate Franziska Sterrer (AUT) even was on the intermediate rank two. After the Boulder round it was visible that a Combined final is more than just the sum of the single disciplines: The top favourite Claire Buhrfeind (USA) didn't manage to come back after placing sixth in Speed. The Boulder World Champion (U20) did not get further than rank 5. It was a whole different story with the Austrian Laura Stöckler, who delivered a solid climb and got the Bouldering rank 1. Which means that she had the intermediate rank two after the Lead round. Franziska Sterrer was on the intermediate rank three. In the discipline Lead Laura Stöckler climbed like there was no tomorrow secured the Combined gold medal for herself. “Today was incredible. It all went well from the beginning. I placed third in Speed, with a great time and I am happy with my performance. Winning two rounds in front of the home crowd is surreal. I still have not realised what happened. I could not be more happy with my achievement!”, stated the Austrian afterwards. Franziska Sterrer was only separated of a place on the podium by three measly points or two moves. Nonetheless, she was happy with her strong fourth place: “I was so happy to get the chance to be a part of the competition, because I got in as rank six and was able to improve myself and now I am the fourth. It was really exhausting. Now I am excited for the European Championships!”

Meichi Narasaki is the boys' winner

As expected, Yoshiyuki and Meichi Narasaki decided who was going to be the winner between the two of them. They already won two gold medals (Ogata) and silver medals (Narasaki) each. After they successfully secured place one and two in the discipline Speed there was nothing in the way for another Japanese double win. In the end Meichi Narasaki won Lead and therefore won gold, his team mate Ogata won silver. The American Kai Lightner was happy about his bronze medal. He was overwhelmed with fatigue afterwards: “Today I would have loved to stay in bed, but I knew I had to come and fight for the title! I do not know if it is the format or simply the last ten days, but I am simply exhausted. I have never felt this tired in my whole life. I was in all final rounds and and climbed every event of my age group, which means I only had one day to rest. I am excited to have a lie in tomorrow.” 

Text: Ben Lepesant/ Miriam Al Kafur

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