UIAA, Utrecht

Review: Utrecht Continental Open

The final UIAA Ice Climbing competition of 2023 took place on Saturday 16 December in Utrecht, the Netherlands. The event, organised by the Royal Dutch Climbing and Mountaineering Federation (NKBV) and Sportcentrum Olympos, included the third Continental Open of the 2023-24 season and the second Youth Continental Open.

In her home competition, Marianne van der Steen (247 points after three rounds) claimed the women’s title in Utrecht, to secure a second medal of the season and return to the top of the Continental Open leaderboard. Japan’s Haruko Takeuchi took her first ever Continental medal, finishing in second place with 24-year old Swiss athlete Sina Goetz taking bronze. It was a solid weekend for the Swiss women’s team with three athletes making the final eight. A seventh place for Aneta Louzecka (194) keeps her in second place in the overall standings. With previous Continental Open Tour leader Olga Kosek not competing in Utrecht, Takeuchi now sits in third on 175 points.

Javier Cano Blázquez, from Spain, won the men’s event, improving on his silver medal last time out in Brno. Victory also propelled him to the top of the overall leaderboard on 227 points. Jonathan Brown of Switzerland took silver and Will Morris of Great Britain the bronze medal. Those two athletes share 200 points and sit in second and third place in the Continental Open standings.

A total of 75 athletes competed in the senior competition with a further 14 contesting the youth event. This latter competition saw gold medals for Great Britain, Spain and Switzerland.

Following the turn of the year, the UIAA Ice Climbing World Tour kicks off with the opening World Cup in Cheongsong, South Korea (12-14 January). A full media preview of the World Tour will be published shortly. The Continental Open Series still has three rounds to run with the next event taking place in Champagny-en-Vanoise, France on 20-21 January.

Photos (to follow)

Main photo: Marianne van der Steen climbing to gold by UIAA/Wim Kluvers



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