Slovenia’s Janja Garnbret, seeking to get back to winning ways in the International Federation of Sports Climbing's (IFSC) Lead World Cup series, made a strong start to the fifth edition in Edinburgh as she finished joint first with six other women in the opening day’s qualifying.
The precociously talented 18-year-old, who was lead and combined World Cup winner, as well as lead world champion, in 2016, had her run of three World Cup victories this year ended in Arco last month by Jain Kim, who was one of six joining her on 4.90 points after the first and second qualifying rounds.
The 29-year-old South Korean - World Cup champion in 2010, 2013 and 2014 - is now second to Garnbret in the overall standings, 65 points behind on 300, and moves through with her to tomorrow’s semi-finals.
Belgium’s Anak Verhoeven, third overall on 257, is also in the leading group along with France’s Julia Chanourdie, Garnbret’s team-mate Mina Markovic, Jessica Pilz of Austria and Ashima Shiraishi of the United States.
Katherine Choong of Switzerland heads the next group, joint eighth on 7.35 points with Austria’s Hannah Schubert and Molly Thompson-Smith of Britain.
Two other home climbers earned one of the 26 semi-final places – Hannah Slaney, who scored 13.92, and Jennifer Wood, on 22.24.
Meanwhile France’s overall leader in the men's Lead World Cup standings, Romain Desgranges, made an assured start to what he hopes will be his third victory of the season as he finished joint top of the semi-final qualifiers on 3.87 points, along with Stefano Ghisolfi of Italy, Keiichiro Korenaga of Japan and the winner of the last Lead World Cup in Arco, Austria’s Jakob Schubert.
Italy’s Marcello Bombardi - 89 points behind Desgranges in the overall standings – is joint fifth on 6.24 with Sean Bailey of the US and Switzerland’s Sascha Lehmann.
The men's Speed World Cup event saw Russia’s Vladislav Deulin endeavouring to maintain his record of making the podium at every one of this season's events, with his victory in Arco restoring him to the top of the overall rankings.
Deulin was dealing with the pressure well enough as he finished joint fourth best qualifier with 6.48sec, alongside Leonardo Gontero, on a day when top honours went to Poland’s Marcin Dzienski, who clocked 6.07 to head Russia’s Aleksandr Shikov, on 6.33, and France’s Guillaume Moro, who took 6.45.
Iuliia Kaplina, who heads this season’s women’s Speed World Cup lists after her win in Arco, qualified second on 7.92 behind France’s Anouck Jaubert, who finished on 7.86.
Kaplina’s compatriot Mariia Krasavina was third on 8.19, with Poland’s Klaudia Buczek fifth on 8.67.
The event takes place until Sunday (September 24) alongside the second Paraclimbing Cup of the season.