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  Youngest lead climbing world champion-Johanna Ernst sets world record

  XINING, China--Johanna Ernst, a 15-year-old Austrian girl, won the women's lead final in IFSC World Cup on Saturday in Qinghai of northwest China, setting the world record for the youngest world champion in this series.

   Photo: Johanna Ernst, ranked 21st in the world before Saturday, was the only athlete that reached the top in the final. She was also the only one that got top all in qualification, semifinal and final.
  (enlarge photo)

    Ernst told the result to her parents at home. "They are very proud and you know, they are very happy," said she. "Also they can't believe it. They cried for me."

   Johanna Ernst was still in European youth games last year, and it was her first time to attend the Climbing World Cup. "The route wasn't very easy. Sometimes it was very hard. I can't believe it yet that I won," said she. "It's amazing."

   The organizers designed the route and the wall all in accordance with international game standard and restricted the time within 6 minutes, bringing more difficulty to the athletes.

  None of the other athletes managed to the top in the final.

   Johanna Ernst, who still wore a teeth-hoop, began to learn climbing when she was 8 years old. She said she planned to participate in the next World Cup and see how the world ranking would be. "I don't know," She smiled when asked weather to be make climbing a career.

  Qinghai is the seventh stop of this year's Climbing World Cup series. It is the third time for this mountainous plateau province to host the world-class climbing competition. A total of 76 athletes from 19 countries and regions participated in the game.

  June 29, 2008

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