Youth ice climbers take centre stage
Images: Patrick Schwienbacher for the UIAA
A week on from hosting the decisive final round of the 2016 UIAA Ice Climbing World Tour, Rabenstein, Italy showcased the very best of international youth ice climbing.
Over 60 athletes from 12 countries (Canada, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Italy, Lichtenstein, Russia, Slovakia, Switzerland, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States) took part in the UIAA World Youth Championships from 5-7 February which crowned the age group world youth champions in lead and speed in the U/16, U/19 age and U/22 ranges.
Supported by The North Face Korea, the event demonstrated the UIAA’s commitment to the future of ice climbing and the development of the sport at grass roots level. This legacy aspect of the sport will be in evidence at the upcoming 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer.
Russian athletes scooped gold medals in the youngest age range with Ilia Kurochkin winning the men’s and Iuliia Filateva the women’s U/16 category.
In the men’s U/19 lead competition Lukas Goetz from the Swiss Alpine Club was crowned champion defeating Vadim Malshchukov of Russia and Frenchman Tristan Ladevant. Goetz also saw off compatriot Yannick Glatthard who a week earlier had taken a silver medal in the UIAA World Tour and European Championships at the same venue.
“It was a great weekend,” reflected Goetz. “My climbing was good, I’m happy. I’m sad Yannick dropped his ice axe in the final but this nature of the sport.”
The women’s U/19 lead competition was won by Russian Valeriia Bogdan ahead of Sina Goetz from Switzerland and British climber Emma Powell.
In the U/22 event, Alena Kochebaeva triumphed ahead of Ekaterina Koscheeva and Nadezhda Smirnova.
Despite her success in lead and a bronze medal in speed, Kochebaeva still felt she could have done better. “Lead is a very good result. In speed I think I can be better. This youth competition is very important because young athletes have a showcase, can make friends, it’s a good chance to travel to other countries, experience other cultures. It was a perfect competition with a great atmosphere.”
In the men’s most senior category, Swiss athletes again stole the headlines with Kevin Huser defeating compatriot Alexander Werren. American Justin Willis claimed bronze.
With a best time of 12.44, Russian Nikita Glazyrin won the U/16 men’s speed competition. A time of 11.01 saw Malshchukov claim gold in U/19 and completing a clean sweep from the country Vladimir Kartashev, a gold medal winner in the 2016 UIAA Ice Climbing World Tour, claimed the U/22 competition in a rapid 8:86.
The women’s U/19 event was won by Valeriia Borden (15:27) who became the only athlete to claim both speed and lead gold medals. Ekaterina Koshcheeva (12:96), another athlete impressive in the 2016 season, took gold in U/22 and Elizaveta Malygina (15:33) claimed the U/16.
The team ranking was claimed by Russia ahead of Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
The best images from the weekend are available on the UIAA Flickr account.
Video highlights from the event will be available shortly.
The full results are available at: www.theuiaaiceclimbing.com