Climber Adam Ondra during the men's qualification for the World Cup in sport climbing (bouldering), June 2, 2023, Prague.
Prague – Home favorite Adam Ondra advanced to the semifinals of the Bouldering World Cup in Prague. He climbed three of the five qualifying boulders, the last two on the first attempt. It was thanks to the relatively low number of attempts that he defended the progress bar in group A, where he took seventh place. Other Czech representatives Jáchym Cink, Šimon Potůček and Štěpán and Martin Stráník did not register a single top in the qualification and were far from advancing. For example, even reigning European champion Nicolai Uznik from Austria or Olympic combined champion Alberto Ginés from Spain did not reach the semi-finals.
In the qualification, 95 climbers were divided into two groups, which tackled different boulders. Ten of each advanced. More than a thousand viewers watched the qualification for Letná. Ondra admitted that he felt a little tied up because of that.
“I knew that the qualifying round is always the most stressful for all the guys. You don't know how the boulders are going to be built, and that sieve of the almost hundred people on twenty is cruel. I was a little stressed not to advance to the semi-finals because of the Czech fans. That would hurt. It is, of course, a different situation than if it were another World Cup race. Not advancing to the semi-finals there would hurt significantly less than not advancing here,” he confided.
The qualification did not go well for him. He worked hard on the first boulder to get at least the zone. “I was happy that I got into the zone at all. It's hard to say if I was up to it. I suppose I wasn't physically up to it with the method it was supposed to be climbed,” he commented on the route, the style of which didn't suit him. Even the number two didn't quite suit his nature, but he reached the top there on the fourth attempt. “That was a boulder where I was lucky to climb it. And fortunately in a relatively small amount of attempts,” he sighed.
He got into trouble on the third boulder, when he was seemingly close to the top several times, but reached for the last hold in vain. “I didn't understand the three at all. I'm curious myself, how the guys climbed it, because I have no idea how it was supposed to be climbed,” he revealed. This put him in a critical situation due to the development of the qualification, he had to overcome the last two boulders and even that might not be enough. “I knew I had to. I didn't really know if I even had a chance,” he recalled.
Under pressure, Ondra, who has a bouldering bronze medal from last year's EC, managed to finish the qualification in style. He climbed the fourth and fifth routes immediately. “Those were just two boulders for me and it was hard to make any mistakes on them. It was more of a conservative climb,” he added. These quick successes were key. Ondra used six attempts for three tops, if he had three more attempts, it would not be enough for the semi-finals.
He will spend the afternoon before the Saturday program with his family. “My wife and little one are just on their way, so I will meet them at the station and spend the rest of the day with them. Tomorrow they will both be here cheering me on,” said the father of one-year-old Hugo. Czech team. Among the women, Michaela Smetanová and Eliška Adamovská performed best, climbing one boulder and reaching the zone on three others. Even that was not enough to progress. Arina Jurčenko, Emma Galeová and Barbora Zítková did not conquer any boulder. The role of the favorite was confirmed by the Slovenian star Janja Garnbretová, who was the only one who managed all the boulders.