UIAA

Review: Young talents shine in Oulu

The penultimate round of the UIAA Ice Climbing European Continental Open season in Oulu, Finland saw athletes from five different member federations make the podium.

Proving top performers in the lead-only competition was Team Liechtenstein who saw 18-year old Lorena Beck take the gold medal to add to the World Cup victory she achieved in the speed discipline last weekend. It has been quite the start to 2024 for Beck who also won the U20 lead and speed titles at the recent UIAA Ice Climbing World Youth Championships. Andreas Gantner secured Liechtenstein’s second medal by taking bronze in the men’s competition.

Gold in the men’s event went to another 18-year old. Spain’s Jorge Veiga Rodriguez secured his second senior gold at Continental level having triumphed in Zilina, Slovakia in November. Some more experienced athletes completed the podium. Pauli Salminen, 42, from the host country took silver in the men’s event while Eimir McSwiggan, Ireland, and Marianne van der Steen, Netherlands, both on the circuit for over a decade completed the women’s podium.

As with most Continental Open events this season, there was also a youth component to the competition. Here athletes from four countries – Finland, Great Britain, Liechtenstein and Spain – claimed the medals. In winning the senior titles, Beck and Rodriguez also took the U20 crowns. With such precocious talent on the circuit, the future is clearly very bright for competition ice climbing.

A replay of the livestream from the event can be found here:

The concluding round of the European circuit takes place in Sunderland, England on Saturday 10 February.

In terms of the series ranking, van der Steen’s fourth medal in five continental events takes her to 392 points guaranteeing overall victory. Aiming to make the final podium are Haruko Takeuchi (277 pts), Aneta Louzecka (274), Olga Kosek (254) and McSwiggan (186).

The men’s competition is a little tighter. Spain’s Javier Cano Blazquez, seventh in Oulu, leads on 313 points. Great Britain’s Will Morris (277) will seek to make the most of his home European Cup next week while Rodriguez now sits in third on 261 points.

The UIAA thanks FINICE for its excellent hosting of another competition in Oulu.

Photo credits: Marko Kerola and Tapio Alhonsuo.
Additional photos here.
Results here.

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