Speed Climbing World Record Broken TWICE In One Day By Teammates

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Two teammates from Indonesia have broken the four year standing Speed Climbing World Record in the same day! Kiromal Katibin first set a new time of 5.258 in qualifications. Later in finals he faced Veddriq Leonardo who managed 5.208!

We initially reported on the new speed record of 5.258 set by Kiromal Katibin (pictured). The 20 year old climber from Batang, Indonesia was climbing against Darren Skolnik of the USA who got respectable 6.869.

This was already a huge jump forward from the previous record of 5.48. He’d also managed a 5.328 in his other qualification time. His teammate Veddriq Leonardo was at his heels with a 5.375 also in quals.

Again in quarter finals Katibin was hitting 5.42, and in semis Katibin and Veddriq hit 5.35 and 5.38 respectively. In the finals they would face each other for an electrifying finish.

Veddriq Leonardo managed again to break the new speed climbing world record set by Katibin with a 5.208 and first place. This shaves of 0.2 of a second which is huge in any speed of racing event this fast. Kiromal fell in the final to take second place.

Skip to 1:05:30 to watch Kiromal and Veddriq in the final where the speed climbing world record was broken for the second time that day

If anyone was counting that means between these two they broke the previous record seven times in one event. This seems to be largely because they are adding one more skip near the top.

The idea in speed climbing is to go in as straight a line as possible by not using holds that aren’t in a direct line up to the top. The “Tomoa skip” after Tomoa Narasaki is the first but this last one may be a game changer if other teams emulate it.

Read What Is Speed Climbing?

The speed timings from generally non-speed specialists are starting to tighten up. The top four placements all had times under 6 seconds and the Olympic climbing athletes are all hitting under that consistently.

John Brosler set a time of 5.606 for a new USA Men’s speed climbing record in this same event. Interestingly the previous Women’s Speed Climbing world record (now held by Iuliaa Kaplina) holder was Aries Susanti Rahayu, also of Indonesia. The team seem to be doing something very right!

Kiromal Katibin setting the first world speed climbing record of the day

You can watch a couple of angles of the first record on the IFSC’s instagram here and here. Check out Kiromal Katibin’s instagram and Veddriq Leonard’s here.

Previous Speed Climbing World Record

The previous record was set by Reza Alipour Shenazandifard of Iran. Also known as the “fastest vertical man in the world” Reza set this time on April 30th, 2017 at the IFSC Climbing World Cup in Nanjing. Reza unfortunately didn’t qualify for the 2021 Olympic climbing event but is aiming for the Paris 2024 event.

Read more in our complete guide to Olympic Climbing in 2021
What Is Speed Climbing?

This year’s Olympics will feature climbing for the first time in it’s 125 year history. It’s bit of a controversial one as the lead climbing, bouldering, and speed climbing events only have one set of medals for all. This means limbers have to place decently in all three events.

This puts the climbers into roughly two groups: the sport climbers and boulderers, then the speed specialists. It’s though that speed climbers are at the biggest disadvantage here so are less likely to get medals. It’s also going to mean some very capable climbers will struggle with the speed event having only picked it up in the last 2 or 3 years.

No-one is really too happy about the format but it was essentially the only way for all events to be represented at the games as only a few medals were being offered by the International Olympic Committee. In Paris 2024 the three disciplines will all have their own individual medals so many younger climbers are focusing on this event.