Two Medals for Japan and Six New Olympians
At the conclusion of the first day of the IFSC Combined Qualifier Toulouse 2019, six men had already secured their spots for Tokyo 2020, but the battle for the last gold medal of the season was still to be held.
France wins Speed
For the speed specialists, a win in the first round of the combined competition was imperative to find a spot at the top of the final rankings. Crowd favorite, and winner of the IFSC Speed World Cup 2019 series, Bassa MAWEM (FRA) gave his all in the qualification round to finish in first place with a total speed of 5.68 seconds, which earned him a spot in the finals and a quota place for Tokyo 2020 alongside his brother, Mickael MAWEM. He followed up the Thursday win with another during the final on Saturday to ultimately finish the event in fourth place.
A Crucial Number of Attempts
Both Bouldering competitions at the Combined Qualifier came down to the final problems to determine the winners. During the qualifications, ten of the twenty-two competitors walked away with three tops and four zones each, leaving the final results down to the number of attempts. It was China’s YuFei PAN who finished at the top of the rankings for this discipline, to claim his country’s first Olympic quota place.
During the finals, the routes were less forgiving with only seven total tops among the eight climbers, many requiring nine attempts to reach a crucial hold. Meichi NARASAKI (JPN) was the one who walked away with the win this time, putting him in first overall going into the Lead event. His compatriot, Kokoro FUJII was close behind, also with two tops but missed out on the win due to attempts.
Standing Ovation for ONDRA
While the lead wall saw no tops today, several climbers came close. Adam ONDRA (CZE) really showed his skill as the undisputed lead winner, coming in first in both the qualification and final rounds. To his relief and that of the climbing community around the world, he officially found a place on the road to Tokyo and received overwhelming cheers from the crowd when he returned to the ground. However, it wasn’t enough to stand on the highest step of the combined podium, having to settle with a silver medal in Toulouse.
FUJII came in second again, falling only one move short of ONDRA. Paired with his earlier results he clinched the gold at the IFSC Combined Qualifier. The final climber of the night was NARASAKI and despite an upsetting fall low on the route, his overall score was enough to grant him a bronze medal.
KAPLINA Dominates Speed
With five speed specialists competing in the women’s qualifications, claiming the first-place spot during the first round of competition was key to attaining a coveted quota place. Despite racing against two world record breakers, it was Russia’s Iuliia KAPLINA who finished at the forefront of the qualifications to become her country’s first Sport Climbing Olympic athlete. Even in a tight race during the final against Kyra CONDIE (USA) for first, she continued to excel and finished the weekend in sixth place.
A Pivotal Moment
After finishing within one ranking point of each other in the speed round, the battle heated up between RAKOVEC and KRAMPL in the bouldering final. Both athletes had achieved all four tops in the qualifications, alongside Ai MORI (JPN), but now it was time to create some distance in their scores. RAKOVEC fought hard on the first boulder, taking nine attempts to find a top before continuing to top the remaining two. Unfortunately, KRAMPL was only able to find a zone on the first problem to fall behind her compatriot.
Both MORI and Futaba ITO (JPN) found tops on all three boulders, with ITO landing in first due to the number of attempts taken.
KRAMPL Pulls Through
The first on the wall during the Lead round was KRAMPL, who fell at the seemingly disappointing 32nd hold. With seven other climbers poised to take their turn, it didn’t look like it would be enough to put her ahead of RAKOVEC in the overall rankings to take Slovenia’s final Olympic spot. However, as each of the remaining climbers took on the lead wall and continued to fall just short of KRAMPL’s highpoint, the audience was in for a surprising outcome. Despite finishing lower than her rival in both of the previous rounds, with a miraculous first-place in Lead, KRAMPL squeaked ahead in the rankings to finish with a bronze medal and seize a spot at Tokyo 2020.
Local favorite, Julia CHANOURDIE (FRA) completed the event with a silver medal behind ITO who claimed the gold.
Slovenia Battles for Olympic Place, Medals for Japan and France
Find more information about Sport Climbing's debut at Tokyo 2020 and the Olympic Qualification System here.