At the IFSC World Cup in Koper, 20-year-old Slovenian Luka Potocar won his first World Cup gold. The Swiss Sascha Lehmann climbed to second place. The Japanese Ai Mori caused a surprise for the women: she beat the house favorite Janja Garnbret on her comeback in the competition circus.

The first World Cup of the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) in Copper, Slovenia, finished last night at Plus Climbing Koper in front of thousands of enthusiastic fans. The 20-year-old Slovenian climber Luca Potocar secured the first World Cup gold medal of his career - and this in front of a home crowd. As the third last starter, Potocar got a score of 30+.

Sascha Lehmann Koper Silver Medal
The Swiss Sascha Lehmann just barely missed gold in Koper and won silver. Image: Dimitris Tosidis/IFSC

The Swiss also reached 30+ Sascha Lehmann, who took second place because of his poorer placement in the semifinals.

Yannick Flohe of Germany completed the podium in third place, adding a bronze medal to the bouldering gold he won in Brixen earlier in the year.

The Japanese landed just outside the podium Ao Yurikusa in fourth place, followed by the Tokyo 2020 Olympic champion, Alberto Gines Lopez from Spain, who finished fifth, and three other Japanese athletes: Taisei Homma, Yoshiyuki Ogata and Satone Yoshida, who finished sixth, seventh and eighth.

Highlights from the semifinals

Japanese Ai Mori beats favorite Janja Garnbret

What started out as a great evening from a Slovenian point of view didn't develop into a perfect evening in the women's final. The absolute favourite Janja Garnbret missed a chance to win her fifth lead World Cup gold of 2022 when she slipped midway and behind the Japanese Ai Mori landed in second place.

Ai Mori Koper Gold
Strong comeback: 18-year-old Japanese Ai Mori wins gold. Image: Dimitris Tosidis/IFSC

The 18-year-old from Ibaraki, Japan, returned to the competitive circuit after a three-year hiatus. Her first participation in an IFSC event, the IFSC Combined Qualifier in Toulose, France, saw her climb to the top of the World Cup podium in December 2019. Ai Mori also finished the World Cup in Koper, Slovenia, with gold. The Japanese managed a score of 30+ while favorite Garnbret finished with 27+.

Brooke Raboutou of the USA, who won her sixth World Cup medal of the season, finished third and took bronze at 23+.

Podium Women Koper
Ai Mori wins in Koper, Slovenia, ahead of favorite Janja Garnbret and American Brooke Raboutou. Image: Dimitris Tosidis/IFSC

The Olympians Seo Chaehyun from South Korea, Jessica mushroom from Austria and Mia Krampl from Slovenia were fourth, fifth and sixth on the podium. Natalia Grossman from USA finished seventh while Helene Janicot from France finished eighth in their first finals appearance of the 2022 season.

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Credits: Cover photo: Dimitris Tosidis/IFSC

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