Wednesday May 22, 2024

Watson lowers men's speed climbing world record twice at WC

Published : 13 Apr 2024, 01:35

  DF News Desk
Samuel Watson of the United States celebrates after lowering the men's speed climbing world record at the 2024 IFSC Climbing World Cup in Wujiang, east China's Jiangsu Province, April 12, 2024. Photo: courtesy of IFSC via Xinhua.

Samuel Watson of the United States lowered the men's speed climbing world record twice at the 2024 IFSC Climbing World Cup here on Friday, clocking 4.79 seconds in the qualifications, reported Xinhua.

18-year-old Watson clocked 4.85 in the first run, improving the previous record of 4.90 set by Veddriq Leonardo of Indonesia at the World Cup in Seoul, South Korea last April.

Just 36 minutes later, Watson showcased even better form in the second run to go another 0.06 seconds faster in front of a hyped crowd at the Foho Cultural and Sports Center in Wujiang, east China's Jiangsu Province.

"I'm so excited to be here at the first World Cup of the season in Wujiang," said Watson. "It's an awesome venue, awesome environment, and the training paid off."

Having already qualified for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games by securing gold at the 2023 Pan American Games, Watson admitted that he came to Wujiang with the goal of breaking the world record.

"I've done it a couple of times in practice and I thought it was finally time. I was just a couple of hundredths of a second off from doing it last year. Very happy to actually complete the run and get it this year," Watson noted.

Looking ahead to the Paris Olympics, Watson set his goal at 4.50 seconds, adding, "I will keep doing what I'm doing, go to these competitions, learn from my mistakes and do the best I can."

Wu Peng set China's new national record of 4.90 seconds, 0.08 faster than Cao Long's previous record set last year.

"I had never climbed this fast in practice," said an excited Wu. "My best outcome was 4.99, so I'm really happy with the result today. But I think I can still be faster."

His coach Zhang Yanli said, "Wu always did better in competitions than in practice. He strengthened his physical strength and slightly adjusted some moves during the winter training camp."

A total of six male and six female Chinese climbers qualified for the speed finals scheduled for Saturday.

The men's and women's lead qualifications also took place on Friday, with China's Luo Zhilu and Zhang Yuetong advancing into the women's semifinals.