The World Games Athlete of May 2023

The World Games Athlete of May 2023

Congratulations to Veddriq Leonardo from Indonesia, IWGA Athlete of the Month for May 2023!

Veddriq Leonardo (26) really likes Salt Lake City. For the third time in a row, the speed climber from Indonesia won the IFSC World Cup in the US city. At the end of May, he won the final with a time of 4.95 seconds. To storm the 15-metre-high wall in under five seconds, you might want to say: wow! Veddriq Leonardo says "It's not my first time!” At the end of April, he set a new world record in the quarter-finals of the IFSC World Cup in Seoul, Korea. His best time here was 4.902 seconds.

The World Games champion of 2022 in Birmingham, USA, is thus the first and so far the only climber to master the wall in under five seconds. And it was not a debut for Veddriq Leonardo in setting a world record; he had already achieved such a feat in 2021 (5.208). Where? In Salt Lake City, of course, at the IFSC World Cup.

Veddriq Leonardo now has his eye on a new favourite city – Paris. At the Olympic Games next year, he wants to win gold for Indonesia in the speed discipline. It has to be said that he has a strong competitor for this dream. With his world record in April he beat the best performance of his compatriot Kiromal Katibin, but in May 2022, Kiromal Katibin had in turn taken the world record from Veddriq Leonardos, set in 2021. The two then competed against each other in the final of The World Games 2022. Gold went to our Athlete of the Month for May. Kiromal Katibin struggled because of a fall.

Still, the word ‘competitors’ seems a bit misleading: "We are like brothers," say the two top-ranked speed climbers in the world about each other. They see this ‘brotherhood’ as key to their success. "We train together and we also travel to competitions together." This friendship lapses only now and then. And even then only for more or less five seconds: They are only opponents when they compete against each other. Kiromal Katibin cheered for his ‘brother’ at the World Cup victory in May, where Veddriq Leonardo won against the Chinese Wu Peng.

You can marvel at the amazing world record race in Seoul on Eurosport.

 The World Games is a multi-sport event staged every four years by the International World Games Association, organised with the support of the International Olympic Committee. The World Games 2022 was held in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, 7-17 July 2022. 3,600 athletes from 34 sports and 100 countries took part in the Games. The 12th edition of The World Games will be held in Chengdu, CHN in 2025.