The first half of the 2023 IFSC Lead World Cup Series has seen Australian climbers take to competition walls in Innsbruck, Villars and Chamonix.
Photo credit: @samm_pratt
Oceana Mackenzie, Maya Stasiuk, Dylan Parks and Max Pare competed at the first lead event of the season in Innsbruck last month. While it was a quick change of pace and endurance strategy for those who competed in the bouldering events just days earlier, this didn't stop any of the climbers from achieving outstanding results. Oceana finished 37th and Maya finished 72nd, with Dylan and Max finishing 73rd and 98th respectively in the men's field.
Photo credit: @lami.victor
Australia's only Lead World Cup climber in Villars was Emily Scott, who competed in Boulder World Cup events in Japan and South Korea earlier in the year. The 17 year old finished in 72nd place, which she backed up the following week with a 79th place in Chamonix. When reflecting on her season, Emily says "there is always room for improvement, but coming off Villars I was happy with how I was climbing and felt ready for Chamonix. I couldn't quite find my flow on the first climb but felt like I climbed better on the next one. I'm proud of going out and really enjoying my second climb because at big points it's so easy to forget to enjoy the climbs."
Photo credit: @lami.victor
Oceana Mackenzie, Campbell Harrison and Dylan Soin also competed in Chamonix, with the event being the first of the season for both male athletes. The location had special meaning for Campbell, who competed in his first ever Lead World Cup back in 2016 at Chamonix with the iconic Mount Blanc backdrop. Speaking before the competition, Campbell said "I'm definitely a little nervous, but for the most part my preparation has gone well and I'm feeling good on the wall during training. I'm not attending quite as many comps this year as I normally would with the Oceania Olympic Selection taking place so late in the year. The goal for these coming events is to test my shape, see where I'm at right now, and learn what I need to do in order to be ready for the next one." Dylan had a similar mindset, saying "I have been training hard all winter, and I’m looking forward to giving it everything I have with the rest of the Australian team. The wall looks amazing and the backdrop and atmosphere makes for a perfect start to my season."
Photo credit: @janvirtphotography / IFSC
Both male athletes put in strong performances, with Campbell finishing in 41st and Dylan in 73rd. Oceana made it through to her first lead semi-finals since the 2018 Lead World Cup in Xiamen and finished an impressive 23rd place in the women's field. Campbell and Oceana both have their eyes on the next Lead World Cup event in Briancon, where they will be joined by Western Australian climber Aiden Yanev. This will be the last competition before the World Championships in Bern, where the first Olympic quota places are on offer to qualify for Paris 2024.
Keep up with all the Australian Climbing Team news on Instagram at @ausclimbing.