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Bendler Beats Local Star for World Cup Win

Men’s Lead champion Markus Bendler keeps his eyes on the prize at the 2011 UIAA World Cup. Bendler and Korean climber Hee Yong Park both finished with .01 seconds left on the clock, but Bendler’s faster semi-final time gave him the win. [Photo] Korean Alpine Federation

On January 8 and 9, Austrian Markus Bendler won the first lead-climbing competition of this year’s Ice Climbing World Cup. Bendler is no stranger to the podium, having finished first place overall in 2009 and 2010. The men’s finals was a close competition, as Bendler and local Hee Yong Park both finished with .01 seconds left on the clock. With the two competitors tied for first, the judges looked to their semi-final runs to make the decision.

The competition is divided between two disciplines, Lead and Speed. In the Lead contest the climber who reaches the highest point is ranked first, while in the Speed division the climbers are on top-rope, and the fastest time wins.

While Bendler has dominated the Men’s Lead, Russian climbers have won the Speed and women’s events for the past several years. Russia’s streak continued in 2011, with Maria Tolokonina taking the top spot in Women’s Lead, and Maxim Tomilov and Irina Bagaeva winning the Speed events. Athletes represented more than 20 countries–mostly from Europe and Asia.

Held in Cheongsong, Korea, 2011 is the first year the competition on the World Cup circuit has taken place in Asia since its inauguration in 2000. The next event will be held in Saas Fee, Switzerland on January 21 and 22, and will feature both speed and lead climbing. The World Championship for the Lead discipline will be held in Busteni, Romania on February 5 and 6, while Kirov, Russia will host the Speed World Championship on March 6-8. See the UIAA website for a complete list of 2011 events.

Maria Tolokonina campuses her way to the next clip. Tolokonina was the only competitor to reach the top in the women’s Lead division, after Italian favorite Angelika Rainer was asked by the judges to descend mid-climb because she missed a quickdraw. [Photo] Rozle Bregar

Women’s Lead

1 Maria Tolokonina, Rus

2 Woon Sheon Shin, Kor

3 Lucie Horzova, Cze

See full list

Men’s Lead

1 Markus Bendler, Aus

2 Hee Yong Park, Kor

3 Maxim Tomilov, Rus

See full list

Women’s Speed

1 Irina Bagaeva, Rus

2 Natalya Kulikova, Rus

3 Maria Tolokonina, Rus

See full list

Men’s Speed

1 Maxim Tomilov, Rus

2 Pavel Batushev, Rus

3 Maxim Vlasov, Rus

See full list

Sources: January 9, 2011 UIAA press release,,