Austrians into the lead finals

The chance for a red-white-red home victory at the IFSC Climbing World Cup Innsbruck 2022 is alive. Jessica Pilz (ÖAV Haag) and Jakob Schubert (ÖAV Innsbruck) entered the lead final and will fight for the podium places on Sunday evening.

The rain was followed by sunshine - in the truest sense of the word. In perfect conditions and a full house, the 26 best women and men went into the lead semifinals on Saturday evening. Jessica Pilz showed a great performance on the day after the rainy and bitter Bouder semifinal: she reached the top, like four other athletes, and thus secured the shared semifinal victory.

Side by side

"I am very satisfied, two tops in the quali and in the semifinals once again to the top fits. All eight finalists are fit and in good shape, it will be a close race and I have to show a best. Tomorrow is a new day, a new round - we will see who is in front at the end. For me, the lead start can already be classified as very positive," said the 25-year-old from Lower Austria.

Jakob Schubert also achieved a place among the top 8 with ease. Last year's winner finished in fourth place with a score of 41+ and is aiming to defend his title in the final on Sunday. On the men's route, a tricky spot made life difficult for many athletes. Schubert also had to struggle there, prevented the out with a masterstroke and fought his way on.

"In the qualification it went really well, the semifinal is always difficult in the lead. Especially psychologically, because you have to sit behind the wall for a long time and wait, you also can't afford to make a mistake. Especially at home you really want to get to the final, so I'm glad it was enough," said the three-time lead world champion. "I still have some resources and I am in good spirits for the final. It's going to be hard, you saw that in the semifinals, the goal is to be at the top."

Pilz and Schubert brought the "outdoor arena" at the Innsbruck Climbing Center to a boil as they started the semifinals side by side. "Going out was very cool, it was extremely loud and we were celebrated. Jessy got in early, and I noticed that she was slightly ahead of me. A short time later I didn't notice anything because I rather had to take care of my over-acidified forearm," an exhausted Schubert could laugh. Pilz added: "Jakob said before the semi-final that it would take so long because of the women. That's why I started right away. The atmosphere was really cool."

Scherz gets best result

Stefan Scherz (NFÖ Neunkirchen), the third Austrian in the lead semifinal, was also able to rejoice: the 20-year-old Lower Austrian was one of five athletes to reach the difficult spot (33+) and ultimately finished in a shared 13th place. It is his best result in the World Cup (so far 20th place in Chamonix 2021). "It was really cool to climb in this atmosphere. I assessed the critical spot a bit differently and was then surprised, I could have definitely made it in terms of strength."

Scherz was satisfied with the result: "Of course, you always want more and preferably in the final, but I must not get impatient. This result is the confirmation that the way is right - I have to continue like this, then I can certainly move into the final sooner or later."

The women's final will take place on Sunday at 7 p.m., the men's final at 8:15 p.m. (both live on ORF Sport+).

IFSC Climbing World Cup + European Cup Innsbruck 2022