All-time Great Miroslaw Continues to be Unstoppable; Results and Thoughts on the Jakarta Speed World Cup
This article originally appeared on Climbing
The IFSC's "Asia Swing" concluded yesterday with a Speed World Cup in Jakarta, Indonesia. Although no world records were broken (unlike at the preceding World Cup in Seoul), the Jakarta event still proved to be among the fastest World Cups ever.
In the women's division, nobody proved to be speedier than Poland's Aleksandra Miroslaw, who followed up a gold medal win at the aforementioned Seoul World Cup with the fastest qualification run in Jakarta (6.36 seconds). Other competitors posted particularly fast qualification times as well (including Indonesia's Desak Made Rita Kusuma Dewi, with a blazing run of 6.65 seconds, and China's Lijuan Deng with a 6.74-second run).
Quick times by the field, coupled with Jakarta's rain and intense humidity, made the results of each women's race especially unpredictable. For example, in the first race of the final round, Miroslaw slipped...but had enough of a lead to recompose herself and continue to victory over China's Yafei Zhou. Thus began a series of come-from-behind wins from Miroslaw as she progressed through the remainder of the final round's elimination bracket in the most heart-pounding way. A victory over Polish teammate Aleksandra Kalucka (the eventual bronze medalist) propelled Miroslaw to the Big Final race against her chief rival from the qualification round, Indonesia's Made Rita Kusuma Dewi. Dewi had a faster start, but Miroslaw was able to make up time in the midsection of the route and ultimately slap the finishing buzzer with a winning time of 6.43 seconds--edging out Dewi for the gold medal by just 0.09 seconds.
If there was anyone in the men's division who entered the Jakarta World Cup with comparable hype to Miroslaw, it was Indonesia's Veddriq Leonardo--approximately one week removed from setting a new men's world record.
Although Leonardo posted a solid initial time of 5.09 seconds in the men's qualification round at Jakarta, he slipped at the start of his second qualification run. This left the door open for another competitor to seize the top qualification spot, which was soon claimed by Leonardo's Indonesian compatriot, Kiromal Katibin (with a thunderous qualification time of 5.03 seconds).
Katibin seemed to be the runaway favorite in the ensuing men's final round, especially after he edged out Ukraine's Yaroslav Tkach and Japan's Jun Yasukawa in the elimination bracket. But an upset loss to China's Xinshang Wang dashed Kiromal's hopes of winning the gold medal on home soil. (Ultimately, Katibin had to settle for the bronze medal in a slippery Small Final race; Leonardo finished in fifth place following an upset loss to China's Peng Wu).
Fortunately for the raucous crowd, another Indonesian--22-year-old Raharjati Nursamsa--had more consistency, besting Italy's Matteo Zurloni, USA's Sam Watson, and China's Peng Wu to progress through the bracket and into the Big Final. There, Nursamsa sprinted alongside China's Xinshang Wang before narrowly clocking a better time--5.11 seconds, compared to Wang's time of 5.14 seconds. It resulted in Nursamsa's first-ever gold medal, and established him as another big name to watch on the uber-talented Indonesian squad.
As was frequently mentioned on the livestream, Aleksandra Miroslaw has not lost a Speed World Cup since 2019. (Her last loss was a second-place finish to China's Yiling Song in Chongqing of that year). Slovenia's Boulder and Lead superstar Janja Garnbret is the competitor that most often gets labeled the G.O.A.T. these days, but it's definitely time more people start putting Miroslaw in that echelon too. Sure, the metrics for Speed, Lead, and Boulder greatness are different, but consistency counts for a lot--and it's hard to think of any competitor, in any discipline, that has been as consistently dominant as Miroslaw.
Team USA's Emma Hunt had a series of stellar runs in Jakarta. She was eventually knocked out of the final round's elimination bracket by Made Rita Kusuma Dewi--but not before Hunt bettered the American women's record with a new time of 6.79 seconds.
It's not hyperbole to say that this was one of the fastest World Cups ever. The qualification time for the competitor that eventually placed 17th in the men's division was 5.37 seconds. In other words, that time would have been a world record three years ago; at Jakarta, it wasn't even fast enough to get a competitor into the men's final round.
There were a lot of races at Jakarta that could be cited as the most exciting. My pick would be the women's semi-final bracket pairing of Indonesia's Made Rita Kusuma Dewi and China's Lijuan Deng. Their race--as it was happening--was too close to call, and it was only in the top dyno to the buzzer that Dewi was able to barely get the best of Deng (by just 0.04 seconds).
The flipside would be the wildest (and, arguably, sloppiest--but still exciting) race of the event, which was the men's battle between eventual gold-medalist Raharjati Nursamsa and Italy's Matteo Zurloni. Their race started off neck-and-neck...then Zurloni slipped but managed to stay on the wall. Nursamsa soon pulled ahead but had a costly moment of hesitation himself higher up the route--which allowed Zurloni to pull closer and make the race a head-to-head battle once again. Yet, once Zurloni pulled away and launched for the top, he missed the buzzer, allowing Nursamsa to cruise to a win. I don't know if it's possible to pack more drama into 8.91 seconds!
Raharjati Nursamsa (INA)
Xinshang Wang (CHN)
Kiromal Katibin (INA)
Aleksandra Miroslaw (POL)
Desak Made Rita Kusuma Dewi (INA)
Aleksandra Kalucka (POL)
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