A 14-year-old girl has become the youngest winner of the Bouldering Japan Cup, an annual sport climbing tournament that took place this year at the 2nd Gymnasium of the Yoyogi National Stadium in Tokyo.
The teenage champion -- Futaba Ito from Iwate Prefecture -- successfully managed to beat 10-time tournament winner Akiyo Noguchi, as well as several other contestants in the final on Jan. 29 -- becoming the only climber to clear three out of the four climbing tasks.
In the men's tournament, Kokoro Fujii triumphed for the second time in a row -- becoming the first male contestant ever to do so at the event. Fujii also managed to beat the world champion, Tomoa Narasaki in the semifinals.
Sport climbing has been added to the list of events for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. As Ito looks toward the Tokyo Games, she says, "I really want to take part in world tournaments as soon as possible with other climbers such as Akiyo Noguchi."
After initially being influenced to take up climbing by her father, Ito first began competing in climbing tournaments when she was a third-grader, and came second in the world youth championship (for 14- to 15-year-olds) in 2016. Her record-breaking victory in the 2017 Bouldering Japan Cup happened while she was just 14 years and nine months old.