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Dennis Van Hoek makes history by winning the UIAA Men's Speed Finals in ice climbing (Day 1: Saas Fee)
18 Jan 2013
Dennis Van Hoek of the Netherlands celebrates after winning the Men's Speed finals in Saas Fee (Photo: UIAA All Rights Reserved)
Dutch climber Dennis Van Hoek made history and got a huge cheer as he won the Speed finals in the Saas Fee phase of the UIAA Ice Climbing World Tour.
Van Hoek's unexpected win came after he beat out a team of Russian climbers who have been the dominant force in competitive speed ice climbing.
"Now I've done it for once," a jubilant Van Hoek said moments after spectators came up to him to congratulate him.
Van Hoek, 25, who has been competing for seven years in the event said he has never given up and it feels especially good to beat out so many of the Russian climbers who have beaten him in previous years.
"It's good for the sport if many nationalities compete and that's why I've always kept competing," said Van Hoek. "For me speed climbing has always been a gambling game. You have to commit 100 per cent each time and there's always a big chance that you will fall."
Maria Krasavina moments after her first place win at the Speed finals in Saas Fee (Photo: UIAA)
Russian athletes dominated the Women's Speed final today in the Saas Fee phase of the UIAA Ice Climbing World Tour with Maria Krasavina clocking in with a best time of 8.4 seconds.
"Today I feel wonderful," said Krasavina after her first place win. "Saas Fee is a beautiful town and it's got a friendly atmosphere."
Krasavina was ranked number 2 in Kirov in 2012 and this is her second win in Saas Fee where she won last year as well. Close behind here was team member Maria Tolokonina (9.08 seconds) followed by a third Russian athlete Julia Oleynikova (9.10 seconds).
The final results for the Women's Speed can be found here.
The Men's Lead qualifications which finished just before the Women's Speed finals also saw the Russians dominate with Alexey Tomilov who fell early in his climb recover and power his way to first place in his group.
Alexey climbed at the same as his brother Maxim Tomilov who also came first in his qualification group.
Both men will compete in the semi-finals and finals which take place tomorrow (Saturday, 19 January).
Other dominant climbers in the Men's Lead were Korea’s Hee Yong Park and Ukraine’s Valentyn Sypavin.
The qualification results for the Men's Lead can be found here.