• Kyodo


Two years before sport climbing makes its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020, Akiyo Noguchi won the women’s championship in the fifth event of the bouldering World Cup season on Sunday.

Her victory at Esforta Arena Hachioji in western Tokyo was Noguchi’s third straight win on the circuit, while compatriot Miho Nonaka finished runner-up for the fourth straight time.

“Looking toward the Tokyo Olympics, I wanted to add the experience of winning in my own country,” Noguchi said. “I’ve been thinking I want to win this year’s (overall) championship too.”

They completed the three climbs in the six-woman final, but Noguchi earned the win by needing fewer attempts to solve all the problems. Futaba Ito, a 16-year-old competing in her first World Cup season, reached her first final, and finished sixth.

In the men’s division, 2016 overall champion Tomoa Narasaki was runner-up behind Italy’s Gabriele Moroni. Rei Sugimoto was third, while Kai Harada was sixth.

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