Rabenstein. And the Winners Are…

Rabenstein, Italy hosted the final leg of the 2017 UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup season from 28-29 January.

Winners in Rabenstein were Russia’s Pavel Batushev and Ekaterina Feoktistova in speed; and Korea’s HeeYong Park and Han Na Rai Song in lead.

The results also confirmed the overall winners of the 2017 UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup season. After four events in speed, Vladimir Kartashev is the overall men’s champion while the women’s crown is shared between Ekaterina Koshcheeva and Maria Tolokonina. After five events in lead, Park and  Song are clear winners.

The 2017 UIAA Ice Climbing is partnered by The North Face Korea. Next week, Champagny-en-Vanoise, France hosts the biennial UIAA Ice Climbing World Championships. The event is the pinnacle of the UIAA Ice Climbing season.

Lead: Korean joy

HeeYong Park and Han Na Rai Song are in imperious form. Both kickstarted their season winning gold medals in their home event in Cheongsong two weeks ago. Their form has since blossomed during two weeks on the European circuit. Gold in Saas Fee and now in Rabenstein. No matter what kind of routes they are presented with, whatever kind of technical situations, their response has been flawless. Qualifying for the final round of competition in Rabenstein essentially secured both athletes their World Cup seasonal crown but in the spirit of all great competitors, they wanted to toast that success with a crowning performance.

Local favourite Angelika Rainer in action in the lead final. Images: Patrick Schwienbacher/UIAA

Song, the sixth of eight women to start the lead Final, was the first to top the route. Only Maria Tolokonina (RUS) matched that achievement but short of Song’s time. She settled for silver and Korea’s Shin Woonseon bronze. Local favourite Angelika Rainer (ITA) performed impressively throughout the weekend and was in medal contention until a costly tool slip as she prepared to make her final, decisive moves.

Song, who wins her first World Cup season title, finished the season on 412 points; Rainer closed second on 297 and Tolokonina third on 287.

Park, with seconds to spare, was the only male athlete to complete the lead course and he celebrated in customary enthusiastic style, launching himself from the top of the ice structure. Four-time lead World Cup season champion Maxim Tomilov (RUS) took silver, a performance which bodes well for next week’s World Championships. Bronze went to Nikolai Kuzovlev (RUS). A special mention for Yannick Glatthard’s (SUI) thrilling but ultimately futile attempt to win a medal as the last athlete to compete.

It is Park’s third overall World Cup triumph in lead (2011, 2013) and he wins the Series on 427 points ahead of Kuzovlev, 331 pts, and Maxim Tomilov on 303.

Video Replay: Men and Women’s Lead Finals

Speed: Russians dominate

Russia’s Pavel Batushev and Ekaterina Feoktistova  won speed gold medals on Saturday evening.

Batushev set a time of 9.23 seconds to finish ahead of Vladimir Kartashev who recorded a best time of 9.24. Bronze medal went to Egor Trapeznikov, 9.34.

Kartashev finishes the season with three silver medals and one gold to take the World Cup title in speed on 340 points. Batushev finished second on 316, Radomir Proschhenko claimed season bronze on 239.

Video Replay: Men & Women’s Speed Finals

In the women’s competition, Ekaterina Feoktistova’s set the two fastest times to win gold (11.65, 11.78).  Maria Tolokonina took silver (12.48) and Ekaterina Koshcheeva bronze (13.16). Tolokonina and Koshcheeva finish the World Cup season tied on 305 points to share gold. Feoktistova finished in third on 282 pts.

A replay of the weekend’s livestreaming, produced by QTV Sports, is available on the UIAA YouTube and Facebook channels. Commentary came from Liam Lonsdale.

For results from Rabenstein, and full season results, click here.

Images will be available shortly from the UIAA Flickr channel.

While the World Cup season has now finishes the main event of the 2017 UIAA Ice Climbing season – the World Championships in Champagny-en-Vanoise, France – will take place on 4-5 February. A preview of the event will be available on Wednesday 1 February.

The 2017 UIAA Ice Climbing season is partnered by The North Face Korea.