Markus Bendler and Maria Tolokonina stumble on first day of 2012 UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup in South Korea

Two stars on the world circuit, Austria’s Markus Bendler and Russia’s Maria Tolokonina, both stumbled on the first day of competition at the UIAA 2012 Ice Climbing World Championship in Cheongsong, South Korea.

“I think I need a mental coach!!,” Bendler good-heartedly wrote on his Facebook page as he reflected on a fall that knocked him out of the competition on Saturday and a chance to compete in the semi-finals and finals on Sunday.

Bendler was the winner of the Lead discipline in South Korea in 2011, an event where climbers are judged on their ability to master a difficult route in the best time. Bendler came third in the 2011 overall Lead title competition won by South Korea’s Hee Yong Park

There was also heartbreak in the Speed discipline when Tolokonina, winner of the overall Speed title in 2011, fell in the final round of competition on Saturday and was relegated to 8th position. Tolokonina was the overall Women’s Speed champion last year. Speed climbers race up an ice face in the fastest time.

Speed is an event that is usually dominated by Russian climbers and this year was no exception with Russians taking the top three positions in Men’s and Women’s Speed events.

Women’s Speed:
1st Viktoria Shabalina – RUSSIA
2nd Maria Krasvina – RUSSIA
3rd Maryam Filippova – RUSSIA

Men’s Speed:
1st Ivan Spitsyn – RUSSIA
2nd Alexey Vagin – RUSSIA
3rd Alexey Tomilov – RUSSIA

The Men’s and Women’s Lead finals take place on Sunday.