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World Record Demolished—Is Climbing’s “4-minute Mile” Within Grasp?

With a final time of 5.04 seconds Katibin is within reach of the mythical sub-5-second bar, a time that was thought untouchable just a few years ago.

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The Speed World Cup in Villars, Switzerland, has not even concluded and already history has been made. In the qualification portion, Indonesia’s Kiromal Katibin set a new men’s world record—twice—by crushing the previous world record…which he had set just a few weeks ago in Salt Lake City.

What’s more is that Katibin’s incredible dual smashing of the records at the Villars World Cup happened following a false start by his opponent for a race, Man-hei Chung of Hong Kong. Per the rules, Katibin thus raced unopposed and clocked a time of 5.09 seconds—bettering his own previous world record time (of 5.105) by .015 seconds. Moments later, Katibin took to the speed wall again for another run and clocked an even better time for yet another world record, 5.04 seconds. Fan-cam-style video footage of Katibin’s history-making run can be viewed here.

Katibin beat the world record not once, but twice during qualifiers in Villars. With a final time of 5.04 seconds he is within grasp of achieving the mythical sub-5-second bar, a time that was thought untouchable just a few years ago. (Photo: Dimitris Tosidis/IFSC)

The new world record continues a trend for Katibin, who first made headlines by breaking the world record last year in a Salt Lake City World Cup; since then, Katibin has consistently been the best speed climber in the world, aside from a brief period last year when his Indonesia teammate, Veddriq Leonardo, clocked the world’s fastest time.

Katibin’s current world record of 5.04 seconds is extremely close to the “sub-5-seconds” metric, a time that sounded unfeasible just a few years ago. (Consider that the world record a decade ago was not even “sub-6”).

The full results from the Speed qualification portion of the Villars World Cup can be found here, with the final round set to take place in just a few hours (livestreamed here).