ANIYA HOLDER, JOSHUA BRUYNS AWARDED WITH SPEED TICKETS TO PARIS 2024
A warm, long-awaited sun blessed the qualification and final rounds of the Speed events in Pretoria, South Africa, where the IFSC African Qualifier commenced today, 7 December, just outside of the Loftus Versfeld Stadium.
Home favourites Aniya Holder and Joshua Bruyns respectively took gold in the men’s and women’s final, also pocketing the Olympic quota place for Paris 2024.
Holder prevailed over all-around climber Tegwen Oates, who took on the Speed wall in between the two phases of the women’s Boulder & Lead semi-final. Holder finished with the time of 11.33 seconds, while her opponent hit the finish pad at 13.79.
Holder said: “It feels surreal! Obviously, it’s a dream true. I hoped, but I didn’t expect I could win. I always try not to expect anything, but I definitely hoped for it. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t train very hard for it.
“I want to get down to eight seconds, that’s my personal goal in the months that separates me from the Olympics. I’m going to train as hard as I can for it, and I’ll try to compete in some World Cups next year,” she added.
In the men’s gold medal race that followed immediately after, Bruyns – current holder of the men’s Speed African record with 5.95 seconds – beat another South African climber, John Stucken.
Bruyns climbed ahead of his opponent for the majority of the route, but lost the momentum only one move away from the finish pad, and eventually hit the button only 0.39 seconds before Stucken – 7.16 against 7.55.
“I cut my hair a couple of weeks ago, and I think it might have made me a little bit faster, with less air-resistance!” Said Bruyns, who competed in a brand-new haircut.
“It was tough, I was very stressed in the months and weeks leading up to this event, coming in as the favourite is never easy, and I struggled a little bit to compose myself. But I put a lot of trust in all the training and the work that I’ve done in the past few years, and it paid off.
He then concluded, talking about the hesitation at the end of the climb that almost jeopardized his victory: “I had a good start, and I could feel that I was ahead, then I think I disconnected a little bit. When I touched the finish pad, I could not see the times clearly, and I had to look at my father to make sure that I have made it.”
The bronze medal in the women’s Speed event was won by Alyssa Meyer of South Africa, who bested Samantha Goodwin in the race for third place. Joseph Gibbon, also of South Africa, placed third in the men’s event, with John-David Muller falling in the bronze medal race and taking fourth position.
For the complete results of the women’s Speed event click here.
For the complete results of the men’s Speed event click here.
The IFSC African Qualifier Pretoria 2023 will continue tomorrow with the men’s Boulder & Lead semi-final, kicking off at 8:30 (UTC+2:00) with the Boulder phase, and concluding at 16:20 with the Lead one. The women’s Boulder & Lead final will be the closing act of day two, starting at 20:20.
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.
L/R: Joshua Bruyns of South Africa, Aniya Holder of South Africa
Photo: The Good Beta/IFSC