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    Notes and advice from Sean McColl.

By Half A Move, Twice

In the past two world cup competitions I’ve missed the final round by a mere half a movement. Such is the nature of the game when competing at a high level but it still stings to think about it. I also try to think about the times I’ve been lucky this year including my double silver medal in China! [singlepic id=726 h=350 float=right] Two weeks ago was the last Boulder World Cup of the year held in Laval France. It marked the 8th boulder world cup of the year on the season and the 7th for me. Qualifiers were a nail biter for me as I still felt like I was recovering from the China weekend 4 days prior. Getting home from China was a nightmare with 7 hours of delays to my flights including landing at an alternate airport because no one could land at the one I was supposed to land at. Eventually I did get back to my home and had days of rest before heading to Laval. As I said qualifiers were tense as I did 3 boulders in 5 tries. After watching my position fall lower and lower I was in 10th position in my group with only 10 competitors advancing to semi-finals. [singlepic id=729 h=350 float=right] I watched at least 4 other climbers climb multiple problems and if they topped it, they would knock me out. I didn’t climb well in qualifiers but it was still a stressful hour. By the end of the day, I would be the ONLY climber advancing to semis with only 3 boulders. In semi-finals, I climbed well but fell off the final move of the first slab boulder. I did the other 3 boulders in 5 tries. That last move of the first boulder cost me my finals and to make finals you merely had to top the 4 boulders. It sucked to finish in 7th place, one out of finals but in the end I just couldn’t do that last move and it cost me. In Finals for the men would be Jan Hojer, Rustam Gelmanov and 4 French athletes. There was a lot of chatter about how so many French made it to finals but that’s not what this post is about. [singlepic id=730 w=500 h= float=center] I watched a pretty interesting finals for both men and women and in the end Rustam was the only man to send 4 boulders and Akiyo Noguchi sent the women’s 4th boulder to secure her victory. For the Overall it was also Akiyo who won and for the men it was Jan. This past weekend was the 2nd lead world cup in Chamonix France and I had a good week to get back to lead training. It’s always the hardest in the first two weeks of lead training but the last training day before Chamonix I finally had my small breakthrough and felt confident doing my circuits. In China I knew I had gotten lucky and I felt like I would be able to climb more normally for my style here in Chamonix. Joining me in France would be Elan Jonas-Mcrae and Matthew Wellington for lead and Robert Stewart-Patterson for Speed. [singlepic id=731 w=500 h= float=center] The qualifiers went super well for me and by the end of that day I was in 2nd place. Unfortunately none of the other Canadian athletes made the semi-finals. Speed qualifiers were the second day and everyone felt like the holds just seemed better at this competition. In the qualifying round, I set a close to personal best with 9.11 (pb = 8.83) and Robert set his personal best of 6.80. The world records for both men and women were also achieved but unfortunately the wall didn’t pass the homologation so the times cannot be official and will not be written to the books. Semi-finals for lead were Saturday morning and it was much warmer than during the qualifications. That’s a good thing because most people got frozen fingers during the qualification. After preview, we knew the route looked hard but we weren’t expecting what we got when we climbed it. I was 2nd to last out and the route was insanely hard right off the bat. Everyone move seemed hard and uncomfortable. I climbed up near half way before royally messing up a sequence and falling. The hard and annoying part was that I previewed it the “right” way, but chose to adapt my sequence while climbing and it turned out to be my failure. Here’s the live stream queued up to my start. There were also another 7-8 competitors who made the same error as me so that made me feel better. I also found out a while later that while I was messing up the sequence, if I would have just faked a match and jumped towards the next hold, I would’ve gotten the “plus” and advanced to finals. That made me a bit sad but the thing was I wasn’t too tired when I was messing up the sequence. I thought I could reverse it and keep going. If I would’ve been really pumped, I would’ve just jumped for the next hold but instead I tried to do the movement and it cost me the finals. It’s unfortunate but that’s just the nature of competitions! This time I was unlucky but I still feel like I’m climbing very well so I’m pretty excited for the next world cup which is next week in Briancon!    

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Comments (10)

  • Avatar

    John Meget

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    Sean, did you see Sachi’s semifinals climb? He controlled hold #27 — reached his left hand over and touched #28 for about a second, without putting any weight at all on it — then tried the same move as you and fell.

    I don’t know the rules well, but as I read the IFSC manual, it didn’t seem to me he controlled #28, where you clearly did. i.e. I thought the judges would give him 27+. Any thoughts or clarifications?

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Eric Sigurdson

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      I watched the same thing and I was surprised when he didn’t get 27+.

      It was even crazier seeing Sachi fall so early in the finals and then win!

      Better luck next time Sean.

      Reply

      • Avatar

        Sean McColl

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        Thanks, and at least I’m in finals here in Briancon!

        Reply

    • Avatar

      Sean McColl

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      It’s very close to weather he controlled it or not, but in my opinion, he DID control it long enough. He went up to the hold statically, “controlled” it, then went back. Yes, he didn’t control it for as long as I did, but that doesn’t matter within the rules. I also did not physically SEE him climb as I was changing in the tent. Because I didn’t physically see him climb, and he was the last climber I couldn’t find a video fast enough to see if I would even appeal. I asked a lot of my friends including Magnus and Jakob and Sachi himself and they said he controlled it so I didn’t think anything of it. When I finally saw the video an hour later, yes it was close, but I still think he deserved the control.

      Reply

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    Tony Monbetsu

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    I love Sachi Amma and root for him in competitions, but I think the call favoring him over you was completely bogus. You controlled the hold before backing off of it and falling. He went for the hold, touched it, fell. I have no idea why they gave it to him at such a critical juncture. Even the announced seemed very surprised.

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Sean McColl

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      In the end, you’re not given a “better” control for holding onto it longer. Once you’ve established on the hold, you get that number, and if you jump past it towards the next hold, you get a “plus” (+). Also, at the end, it was a route setting mistake as a hard crux move should not have been possible to grab with the wrong hand causing this problem.

      Oh well, and onto the next competition! And Thanks for the support!

      Reply

      • Avatar

        Tony Monbetsu

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        That’s really interesting to think of the routesetting team as having made a “mistake” in terms of setting a section that allowed for this kind of confusion. I hadn’t thought of it like that. Thanks as always for your insights into the pro scene!

        Reply

  • Avatar

    Elaine

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    Was it just a mistake in scoring? If so, why wasn’t it challenged?

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Sean McColl

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      I don’t believe it was a mistake in scoring. I replied in more detail a few comments back.

      Overall, I talked to Jakob, Magnus and Sachi himself. I asked them where he should be scored and they all said he controlled the high hold with his left hand. I trusted their judgement. An hour later when I watched the replay, yes it was very close but I think the he controlled it long enough for the score. He didn’t do it as long as me, but that doesn’t matter in our rules.

      Also, in the end, it was a mistake of the route setting team who made it possible to go up with the left hand.

      Thanks for the support!

      Sean

      Reply

      • Avatar

        Elaine

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        Thanks for the reply! ^_^ I <3 Sachi, but I had thought you beat him that time… it's always a shame to see someone win because of a "bad call," so I'm glad that you, Magnus, and Jakob all agreed it wasn't.

        Reply

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