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Muriel Sarkany
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adidas Rockstars – Qualification Round

Ready, steady, go! The long-expected unique bouldering event adidas Rockstars has just started. Today, the impressive venue of the Porsche-Arena in Stuttgart held the qualification round of both Pro and amateur contest. Among the female pro stars invited to take part in the main competition we could see a current female World Champion in combination, Sasha DiGiulian, multiple World Champion in bouldering, Akiyo Noguchi, top rock boulderers like Alex Puccio and Mélissa Le Nevé plus twenty more athletes competing regularly in the IFSC World Cup series. In the men’s qualification round there were thirty-three competitors including names such as Guillaume Glairon Mondet, Sean McColl and a current World Champion in bouldering, Dmitry Sharafutdinov.

The boulders (four for women and four for men) set by the Fichtinger-Laporte-Woitzuck-Danielson quartet seemed like created with a view to the competitors’ climbing styles. Men were served with huge volumes and quite demanding slopers. The only one climber who managed to read all the sequences correctly during his first attempts was the French Guillaume Glairon Mondet. Five more men completed all the problems: Jernej Kruder (SLO), Sean McColl (CAN), Dmitry Sharafutdinov (RUS), Rustam Gelmanov (RUS) and Jan Hojer of Germany, who during his last trip to Rocklands set a new record by sending 34 boulders graded 8A or harder in only two weeks time! No surprise that after qualifiers he’s ranked #2. A rock rope climbing specialist from Italy, Gabriele Moroni, despite looking equally strong, was stopped by the last boulder. Still, it seems like he’s able to make it big during tomorrow’s semi-finals, the same regards Ignacio Sanchez Gonzálo.

Dmitry looking strong as usual
(photo: Piotr Dro¿d¿)

Women’s qualification problems were as diversified as they could be: there were crimps, a dyno, some technical sequences and powerful moves from one volume to another, so that every competitior could present her strongest points. But there was one thing all the boulders had in common: they were tricky and made the climbers search for an optimal solution of their own. The most versatile female climber appeared to be noone but Akiyo Noguchi who, as the only one, managed to complete all four problems. There were six climbers who ended the round with 3 tops: Olga Iakovleva (RUS), Mina Leslie-Wujastyk (GBR), Katharina Saurwein (AUT), Sasha Digiulian (USA), Dinara Fakhritdinova (RUS) and Mélissa Le Nevé (FRA).

Akiyo Noguchi, the favorite in the women's category
(photo: Piotr Dro¿d¿)

After the main event qualifications there was also the first round of the amateur GORE-TEX Be a Rockstar event in the format of a jam session with eight boulders that can be climbed in a random order within a given time frame. On Saturday afternoon, the top three men and women of the qualification battle it out in a Build your Boulder format. According to the official results these are going to be: Alexander Hille, Peter Würth and Moritz Hans, all from Germany, and in the women's category: Lisa Knoche (GER), Hanne Schächtele (GER) and Julija Kruder (SLO). The winners in both categories are also going to enter Saturday's pro semi-finals and this way get their chance to compete with the best boulder athletes in the world. Wheras all the finalists will form teams of two together with top athletes drawn by lot. This year’s the routsetting aid will be provided by Barbara Zangerl, Mayan Smith-Gobat, Bernd Zangerl, Alex Luger and Beat Kammerlander. Each team has an hour to set its own boulder. In order to claim victory the finalists need creativity, speed and self-evaluation because only by topping their own boulder problems they have a chance to win.

Saturday’s Pro semi-finals are going to start at 1 pm followed by the Build Your Boulder contest from 4 to 5 pm. The main final round with music performed live is scheduled for 8 pm in the evening. If you can’t manage to watch it live at the Porche-Arena, check out the live coverage at , where you can also find the official results of both pro and amateur qualifications.

And you definitely have to take a look at our exclusive Backstage Gallery and the one from the qualification round.

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