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Asian Games 2023 sport climbing: World number two Mori Ai wins women’s boulder & lead combined title after final cancelled for weather issues

World number two Mori Ai won women’s sport climbing boulder & lead combined gold at the 19th Asian Games Hangzhou on Saturday (7 October) after the final was cancelled due to weather conditions.

Rain had fallen in the region of Hangzhou and Shaoxing, People’s Republic of China, the location of the Keqiao Yangshan Sport Climbing Centre, more or less the entire day. It became especially heavy around two hours before the final had been due to start.

With the climbing floor still wet and not drying out, the decision was taken by the jury to call off the final for the athletes’ safety.

That meant that results would be taken from the semi-finals earlier in the afternoon, which had been competed in a light drizzle and with one of the four boulders cancelled.

Japan’s Mori and Republic of Korea climber Seo Chae-hyun had actually tied in semi-finals, both obtaining three tops in the boulder round by taking two extra attempts as well as clipping into the top hold in lead, scoring a total of 199.73 points.

Remarkably, that meant that under sport climbing’s rules, the tie would be broken on further count-back to qualification, where Mori’s better boulder performance – four tops in five attempts – made the difference, with Seo having only achieved three tops and one lower zone.

Hosts China took bronze through Zhang Yuetong.

Zhang said afterwards: “It was my first Asian Games and it is pleasing to win bronze. Although the final was cancelled, and the scores were taken from the semi-finals, I also gave my all in the semi-finals and I am satisfied. But it was a shame that the final was cancelled as I observed the route but we were not able to climb.” Silver medallist Seo agreed: “This is also my first Asian Games and I am really delighted to pick up silver. But I feel a bit of regret that we didn’t get to compete in the final.”

Both Zhang and Seo also indicated they would work on their boulder climbing ahead of the Paris 2024 qualifying session continuing.

Mori, for her part, said: “It is also my first Asian Games, so I am very happy to have obtained the gold medal. Due to the weather we were not able to compete in the final and I am sorry for that. But I had a great experience and showing in the qualifiers and the semi-finals and I now know what to expect when I participate in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. The support and cheers I had while climbing was also great and I want to thank the crowd and the volunteers.”

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Leah Sirama
Leah Sirama
Leah Sirama, a lifelong enthusiast of Artificial Intelligence, has been exploring technology and the digital realm since childhood. Known for his creative thinking, he's dedicated to improving AI experiences for all, making him a respected figure in the field. His passion, curiosity, and creativity drive advancements in the AI world.


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