This weekend the who’s who of the international climbing community gathered for a veritable climbing rock show at the modern Porsche-Arena in Germany. 60 athletes from 23 different countries, including World Champions, European Champions and World Cup winners, met at the adidas ROCKSTARS boulder invitational to compete on a giant stage, accompanied by intoxicating music performances.
Within 10 days the Porsche-Arena was turned into a climbing arena. With very selective boulders the field was cut down in two rounds to 6 men and 6 women. 3,500 enthusiastic spectators came to celebrate the twelve finalists from eight different countries on Saturday evening. Pumped up by punkrock band Orange but Green, the Urban Dance Crew Fothamockaz and extreme sports DJs Chainsaw and Sungod, the athletes pushed the envelope. Their gravity-defying, powerful and dynamic moves enthused the crowds.
With four of the six female competitors being under 18 and one being 18 years old the final featured the “next bouldering generation”. 17-year old Megan Mascarenas who participated in the invitational contest for the first time and won both, the qualification and the semi final round, lived up to her great performance by defeating Akiyo Noguchi (JPN) in a thrilling super final,claiming the the 2015 adidas ROCKSTAR title.
“At first attempt in the super final I thought I’d have to go fast, but then I realised that the boulder was rather hard so it was more about getting to the top rather than speed“, says Mascarenas. Despite her young age, the American has been climbing for 15 years, which explains her impressive strength and technique. „I’m sure seeing climbing with young eyes while having a lot of experience gives me a different point of view, which helped me a lot in the super- final: I got stuck close to the top and I didn’t know what to do so I decided to toe-hook the top. adidas ROCKSTARS was a lot different from what I expected; it’s a more positive environment and the whole atmosphere was fun from arriving at the hotel until now.“
Three-time overall World Cup champion Akiyo Noguchi who is eight years older than Megan agrees that the super final was really tough. “But I’m very happy that I was able to get here once again, I would really like to congratulate Megan on her win.“
Defending champion Sean McColl (CAN), who won the event in 2012 and 2014, achieved his goal of a threepeat. „When I got through the first cut I kind of had to laugh at myself about assuring the podium again as I have won in 2012, got 3rd in 2013 and won again in 2014“, McColl says. “It’s always very exciting to be on the superboulder. Honestly I didn’t really know how it was going to go. I thought we would both make the jump at the first try and that it was going to be a race for the buzzer, so when I did the jump it was quite hard. Then when I heard the crowd’s reaction to Rei falling I looked over and checked, he definitely fell. I knew that it’s really hard to catch up on that type of boulder so I took my time, I relaxed and used more time than normal to the top, but I didn’t fall and that was it. I was pretty sure I wouldn’t fall if I could just get through it, so I was just trying to not make any errors.“
Asked about his secret of success McColl replies: „That I’m able to come back and perform so well every year has probably got something to do with the fact that I train for lead right after the bouldering season finishes while some of the competitors might stop climbing, because they have to have an off-season. Generally they will have an off-season just after the last world cup which was two months ago, whereas me, my off-season is in December after both seasons.“
16-year old Janja Garnbret (SLO), the youngest competitor in this year’s pro field, took the lead after two boulders, but unfortunately slipped off the top hold twice on the third problem and missed the cu tot he superfinal. “This is my first year at adidas ROCKSTARS and I’m really happy that I could reach the final and end up on the podium“, Garnbret says. „When I was leading after the first two boulders I was really happy and excited, even though the result on the third boulder didn’t let me advance to the super boulder, I was still very satisfied with my performance. There are many strong girls here at this event and they really motivated me and I learnt a lot from them, which is amazing. I enjoyed the great atmosphere with so many people cheering for me, especially since I was the youngest competitor. I loved the experience to participate in adidas ROCKSTARS and I hope to have the chance to come back again next year and hit that buzzer.“
The adidas ROCKSTAR 2013, Jernej Kruder (SLO), who advanced to the final together with his young sister Julija was also satisfied with his third place. “I have to say that I was happy to have made it to the final. It’s amazing, especially since it’s my third time in a row. Of course I wanted to be in the super final as well, but right now I don’t care. I felt a bit ill, but I was able to pull myself together and performed even better than I would have thought.“
Jernej’s highlight was being in the final with his sister Julija (17). „It’s been a long-time-wish to be on stage with my sister. When I found out that she’s also in the final I was very happy. It was like a treat that we were climbing together at the same time, really emotional.“
1. Megan Mascarenas (USA)
2. Akiyo Noguchi (JPN)
3. Janja Garnbret (SLO)
4. Stasa Gejo (SRB)
5. Miho Nonaka (JPN)
6. Julija Kruder (SLO)
1. Sean McColl (CAN)
2. Rei Sugimoto (JPN)
3. Jernej Kruder (SLO)
4. Alexey Rubtsov (RUS)
5. Jongwon Chon (KOR)
6. Simon Unger (GER)