FINAL CONTINENTAL QUALIFIER IN PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA TO AWARD FOUR OLYMPIC TICKETS TO PARIS 2024
The fifth and conclusive Continental Qualifier of the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) Season 2023 is about to commence in Pretoria, South Africa, where 44 athletes from four countries – Mauritius, Nigeria, South Africa, and Uganda – will battle for the four Olympic quota places up for grabs at the event.
Starting on Thursday, 7 December, the African Qualifier will take place at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium, home of the Vodacom Bulls, a Pretoria-based rugby franchise participating in the United Rugby Championship.
The opening competition day will feature the women’s Boulder & Lead semi-final, along with Speed qualifications and finals. The men’s Boulder & Lead semi-final will kick off the competition on day two, followed by the final of the women’s Boulder & Lead event. The final of the men’s event will be the closing show of the African Qualifier, on Saturday, 9 December.
The gold medallist in each of the four events will add their names to the list of athletes travelling to France in July 2024 to participate in the Games of the XXXIII Olympiad.
Among the climbers participating in Pretoria, Christopher Cosser of South Africa will try to secure what would be his second Olympic participation. Back in 2020, in fact, Cosser and his teammate Erin Sterkenburg were the two climbers qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics at the IFSC African Championships in Cape Town, South Africa.
In the men’s Speed event, the current holder of the African record – Joshua Bruyns of South Africa – will certainly be among the favourites for the coveted prize, while Tegwen Oates – also representing the home country – will enter the competition with the fastest personal best in the women’s event.
“It’s pretty cool to have such an important event here in my home country,” said Oates, who placed third in Cape Town in 2020.
“It shows great development. I can’t wait to see Sport Climbing grow in the rest of Africa. I only know a sliver of the effort, time, and energy it has taken to organise the event, and I hope that one day there will be more countries in Africa with enough development in their communities to be able to host such an event.”
She added, talking about her own perspective: “I expect to have a lot of fun! No-one ever plans to fully dislocate their knee a few weeks before competing, but my goals haven’t changed. It just became a greater matter of how and I can’t wait to see my mental game compensate for my knee’s capabilities.”
“There is a huge amount of psych for the sport and the more people are exposed to Climbing, the more climbing grows,” concluded Oates.
Following its inclusion in the IFSC at the end of September, the Member Federation representing Nigeria will send a group of seven climbers to Pretoria, marking the first time the country has ever been represented at an IFSC event.
News and updates about the event will be available on the IFSC website, and on the Federation’s digital channels: Facebook, Instagram, X, LinkedIn, and exclusively for the Chinese audience, Douyin and Weibo.
Tegwen Oates of South Africa competes in the women's Speed event at the IFSC World Cup Villars 2023
Photo: Lena Drapella/IFSC