Japan has topped the IFSC World Cup team Bouldering ranking every year since 2014, and they are on track to repeat the feat in 2018. Altogether, 38 Japanese athletes are registered to compete in front of their home crowd in Hachioji. Akiyo Noguchi and Miho Nonaka are the only athletes this season to stand on the podium at every Bouldering event. They won three of four competitions so far, and Noguchi swept both sets of the China Tour this month. Another victory from either star at the Esforta Arena Hachioji on Sunday will secure a spot on the Bouldering season podium.
Among the men, Kokoro Fujii and Tomoa Narasaki both stood atop a podium this year and rank among the top five Bouldering athletes, alongside Rei Sugimoto. Also on the start list for Hachioji is Combined youth world champion Meichi Narasaki, Yoshiyuki Ogata and Keita Watabe, who all won medals in Hachioji and Vail in 2017.
Youth Olympic Games
Japan and China each have two Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 qualified athletes on the start list for Hachioji. Asian youth Bouldering champions Keita Dohi (JPN) and Mao Nakamura (JPN) will compete in both Hachioji and Vail. Dohi continues to improve at IFSC World Cup events and just missed semi-finals last time in Tai’an, and Nakamura returns after twice making semi-finals. Asian youth Combined champion YuFei Pan (CHN) will compete in both events as well, and keep an eye in Vail on Galo Hernandez of Ecuador, competing in his first IFSC Bouldering World Cup, and Hannah Meul of Germany, competing in her 2nd event of the season.