Slovenia's world champion Janja Garnbret will seek a third consecutive women's bouldering gold medal at the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) World Cup that starts in Chongqing, China tomorrow.
But she will face strong opposition from Britain’s in-form Shauna Coxsey, who finished runner-up to her at the last bouldering World Cup competition in Moscow earlier this month.
France’s Fanny Gibert has also shown impressive form in her last two competitions and cannot be ruled out.
Meanwhile, there will be a challenge from a group of up-and-coming competitors including Garnbret’s compatriot Lucka Rakovec, Futaba Ito of Japan, Emily Phillips of Britain and Australia’s Oceania Mackenzie.
In the men’s bouldering, the Czech Republic’s Adam Ondra – who won world titles in both lead and bouldering in 2014 – is showing formidable power and range as he moves towards the Tokyo 2020 Games, where sport climbing makes its debut in the Olympic programme.
But the reigning IFSC World Cup bouldering champion, Garnbret’s fellow Slovenian Jernej Kruder, has gained momentum in his own season thanks to victory in Moscow this month.
Moscow saw victory in the men’s speed climbing go to France’s Bassa Mawem, the 2018 World Cup winner, as he held off local favourite Vladislav Deulin.
Both men will be duelling again.
In the women’s speed climbing, home athlete YiLing Song was hugely impressive in taking the Moscow title ahead of France’s Anouck Jaubert and she will be seeking to continue in the same vein at a home venue.
The World Cup caravan remains in China afterwards, moving on to stage further speed climbing and bouldering events in Wujiang from May 3 to 5.