OLYMPIC TICKETS TO PARIS 2024 AWARDED TO ORIANE BERTONE AND TOBY ROBERTS
The second European Qualifier of the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) concluded in spectacular fashion at Espace Mayenne in Laval, France. Home favourite Oriane Bertone and Great Britain’s Toby Roberts booked their ticket to the Olympic Games Paris 2024 at the end of a thrilling pair of finals, and in front of a loud and passionate crowd.
Bertone, 18, started off with a fantastic 99.9-point round on the Boulder wall, where she flashed three boulders out of four and dug a consistent margin on Serbia’s Stasa Gejo – who took second place with 84.5 points.
In the decisive Lead climb that followed, the Serbian athlete climbed second-to-last, securing hold number 32 and placing herself at the top of the provisional ranking with 148.5 points. Then, it was Bertone’s turn to take the wall.
“I was trying to pay attention to the crowd’s reaction whenever I was grabbing a new hold,” said the French. “I was thinking ‘Is it this one? No.’ ‘Is it the next one? No.’ And when I took the one I heard everybody go crazy, I turned my head so that I could see the screen and saw my name up there. I don’t even know what to say, I’m crazy happy.”
“I am very happy with the consistency that I have displayed throughout the whole event: I was first in qualification, first in semi-final, and first in final, and that is not an easy thing to do. I was especially very happy with my bouldering, I’m not very satisfied about my Lead climb because I was pretty stressed,” she concluded.
The French added 72.0 points and finished with 171.9 points.
In the list of climbers that have qualified for the Paris Olympics, Bertone joins teammate Bassa Mawem, who claimed a spot in the men’s Speed event at the previous European Qualifier in Rome, Italy.
Following Bertone and Gejo, the bronze medal was awarded to Laura Rogora of Italy, who jumped from eighth to third place thanks to a fantastic performance on the Lead wall. The 22-year-old from Trento finished with 145.7 points – 96.1 of which came in the Lead phase.
For the women’s Boulder & Lead complete results click here.
The IFSC European Qualifier Laval 2023 concluded with a thrilling men’s Boulder & Lead final.
Midway through the round, France’s Sam Avezou was standing in first place with 84.8 points, 15.0 points more than Roberts, who was the first of a group of four climbers all ranked in a span of 0.9 points: Roberts at 69.8, Spain’s Alberto Ginés López at 69.7, France’s Mejdi Schalck at 69.6, and Czech Republic’s Adam Ondra at 68.9.
In the decisive Lead phase, Tokyo 2020 Olympic champion Ginés López added a solid 64.0-point performance, overtaking Avezou, earning enough points to place himself ahead of Schalck and Ondra too, and leaving the fate of the event in the hands and feet of Toby Roberts.
“I have literally no words now. I don’t think is ever going to sink in,” commented the young Brit. “Coming into this event, I tried not to have any expectations and just enjoy climbing. It is such a big dream for me, I’ve been training for it for so long.
“I came so close to it in Bern, but I think I let the pressure get the best of me there, and my weaknesses got exposed. So the aim going away from Bern was to work on my weaknesses, come into this event with a clear head and just enjoy the climbing.”
Roberts eventually ended up being the only athletes topping the route, scoring 169.8 points and jumping on the highest step of the podium. Ginés López followed in silver medal position with 133.7, and Avezou completed the podium in third place with 132.9.
For the men’s Boulder & Lead complete results click here.
Laval 2023 has been the second of five IFSC Continental Qualifier scheduled between September and December. Olympic quotas in Speed have been awarded in Rome, Italy, while Asian climbers will compete for a ticket to Paris 2024 in Jakarta, Indonesia, from 9 to 12 November. The final Qualifiers will take place in Melbourne, Australia, from 24 to 26 November; and Pretoria, South Africa, from 7 to 9 December.
Updates and news about the event will be available on the IFSC website, and on the Federation digital channels: Facebook, Instagram, X, LinkedIn, and exclusively for the Chinese audience, Douyin and Weibo.
L/R: Great Britain's Toby Roberts, France's Oriane Bertone
Photo: Jan Virt/IFSC