THE HISTORY BOY

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History was made during Round 2 of the 2018 UIAA Ice Climbing World Tour in Rabenstein when Mohammadreza Korouyeh Safdarian claimed gold in the men’s lead competition to seal a first ever success for an Iranian athlete in the competition’s 16-year history. In the process Safdarian assumed leadership of the overall season rankings. “I am very happy. The crowd gave me a lot of energy,” explained Safdarian who had already set a record by becoming the first Iranian athlete to medal in the competition with his bronze in Saas-Fee last weekend.  The 2018 UIAA Ice Climbing World Tour is supported by The North Face Korea.

Saturday: Lead Finals

The best performer in Saturday afternoon’s semi-finals, Safdarian continued his impressive, composed and calculated form into the Final itself. The last climber to attack the ice wall of Rabenstein, Safdarian fell when one clip from topping the route with sixty seconds to go, a feat which guaranteed the 25-year old a gold medal. South Korea’s Kwon YoungHye claimed bronze with Alexey Tomilov earning silver and in the process bettering his fourth position last weekend in Saas-Fee. Safdarian heads the overall standings on 165 points ahead of the Tomilov brothers where Alexey (135) leads young brother Maxim (131).

Mohammadreza Korouyeh Safdarian celebrates gold. UIAA/Patrick Schwienbacher

Reigning World Tour champion Hannarai Song again took gold in the women’s competition. It is the third time in a row she has triumphed in Rabenstein. Repeating the podium of Saas-Fee, the South Korean finished ahead of compatriot Woonseon Shin and Russia’s Maria Tolokonina. The three athletes therefore lead the season rankings – Song (200), Shin (160), Tolokonina (130). With Song not expected to feature in Hohhot, China next weekend an opportunity lies for the chasing athletes to close the gap.

Relive action from Day 2. Replay of Livestreaming available on UIAA YouTube.

Friday: Speed Finals

The duel format of Friday’s speed finals in Rabenstein provided numerous terrific battles on ice as athletes attacked one of the world’s most striking competition towers.

Anton Nemov celebrates Speed victory. UIAA/Patrick Schwienbacher

The women’s competition saw six Russian athletes reach the final round with France’s Marion Thomas, fresh from some extra training in Saas-Fee, and Finland’s Mira Alhonsuo completing the line-up.  In the final duel, Nadezda Gallyamova edged out compatriot Ekaterina Feoktistova after losing the first of two climbs. In the decisive climb Gallyamova’s time of 12.95 to Feoktistova 14.86 secured victory. Feoktistova (180) leads the overall speed rankings having claimed gold in round 1 of the season in Switzerland. Bronze was claimed by last weekend’s silver medallist – Ekaterina Koshcheeva, who lies third in the season rankings (145). Gallyamova is second on 147.

UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup, Rabenstein (Italy), 26.01.2018. UIAA/Patrick Schwienbacher

In the men’s competition the ‘pocket rocket’ Vladimir Kartashev set the fastest time on ice throughout the day with a mesmerising ascent of 8.17. However, last year’s World Tour champion had to settle for bronze. Claiming victory was 32-year old Russian Anton Nemov who defeated Ivan Spitsyn 19.53 to 20.78 over the final two duels. It is a first UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup gold for Nemov. Nemov (180) heads the season rankings over Nikolai Kuzovlev (140) and Kartashev (130).

Relive action from Day 1. Replay of Livestreaming available on UIAA YouTube.

Action continues on 3-4 February as the competition returns to China with a first event in Hohhot, located in the Inner Mongolia region. Coverage will be available on the UIAA Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channels as well as on the Olympic Channel and on livestreaming media partner EXTREME.  The full programme can be found here.

Results and rankings are available here.

Pictures are available on the UIAA Flickr channel.

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