Kim cements status as top sport climber in region

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Kim cements status as top sport climber in region

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Kim Jain

Sport climber Kim Jain won the women’s lead event at the 2012 Sport Climbing Asian Continental Championships in Leye County in China’s Guanxi Province, on Friday night to retain her title for the eighth straight year.

Relying partly on her high-step technique to gain high foot placements, Kim, a member of The North Face climbing team, beat her 18-year-old compatriot Han Seu-ran. China’s Lamu Renqing was third.

Kim was the only one out of 18 competitors to finish all routes in the discipline, in which the climber who reaches the highest point on the 15-meter (49-foot) wall in a given time wins.

Kim had already clinched the bouldering event on Thursday, edging Renqing and Hung Ying Lee of Chinese Taipei. Bouldering requires climbers to complete five 5-meter-high walls. The person who finishes the task in the fewest number of attempts wins.

With these titles pocketed, the 24-year-old also emerged as the all-around victor at the Asian Championships. This distinction is handed to the climber who amasses the highest evaluation in all three events - lead, bouldering and speed.

“I’m amazed that I’ve now won eight consecutive times,” Kim said through her agency, All That Sports. “I’m happy to have got a good result and I feel especially good about completing all the routes.”

Kim got the season off to a promising start by clinching bronze in the bouldering event at a World Cup series in Chongqing, China, on April 14. She will return to Korea tomorrow to attend the National Sports Climbing Championship - a national team qualifier -on Saturday and Sunday in Mokpo, South Jeolla.

“As I have to participate in other events in early June, I need to focus more on maintaining my form,” said Kim, the current world No. 2. “I’m enjoying a good start to the season, but I want to climb better in other big competitions.”

Kim, a Korea University student, was recently named on a list of 50 mountaineering greats by the Korea Alpine Federation that also included Ko Sang-don, Park Young-seok and Um Hong-gil.

Kim is the only female on the list who is still competing. The two others, Ji Hyun-ok and Ko Mi-young, both died in climbing accidents.

Meanwhile, in the men’s competition, Min Hyeon-bin also won the lead event and defended his title. The 24-year-old beat Davoud Rekabi of Iran and Korea’s Park Ji-hwan. Min was second in bouldering, finishing behind Japan’s Shinta Ozawa.

By Joo Kyung-don [kjoo@joongang.co.kr]

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