Boulder & Lead
Olympic Qualifier Series

Thoughts and quotes from the first event of the multi-sport event taking place in the Chinese city.

The opening event of the 2024 Olympic Qualifier Series takes place in Shanghai, China, from 16 to 19 May, with 160 climbers participating. Here is what they had to say throughout the event:


Veddriq LEONARDO (INA), second with 4.95 seconds:

“I feel so excited because this is our last chance to go to the Olympic finals. I am focused on the podium. It is a little bit different from other competitions. I feel like I am flying. Pretty fast. But so many climbers are fast. I need to be more consistent in every run.

“If you make a mistake, it means everything is gone, all your training, everything. No second chance. That is the risk of speed.

“Maybe in the Indonesian team we have an advantage with our posture. We are very agile. And we train together in the same base. So, it’s a very competitive environment. We push each other to go faster.”

Zach HAMMER (USA), 10th with 5.17 seconds:

“I was really just trying to treat that as any other competition because that’s what it is. I was having fun and that’s when I climb my best. In qualifications whenever you have a good first lap it just really takes the pressure off the second lap. So, I was really just trying to enjoy the second lap. It is the same thing I do every day in training, so I try to have that mindset of ‘I have done this a thousand times’.

“It is kind of fun. I like racing Chinese and Indonesian climbers. They are very fast. It helps push you. I think I can beat them.

“John Brosler and I live in Salt Lake City together and Noah Bratschi has been in Salt Lake City for the past month training with us. I have not talked to them a ton but it is always rough when you do not have a good competition. It is rough when your teammates do not do well, I want them to do well. But it’s not over, There is still another competition in Budapest.”

Yaroslav TKACH (UKR), 13th with 5.26 seconds:

* “Physically and mentally, I feel good, in perfect condition. The most difficult part was to get into the top 16, after that you just need to do clean rounds in the final. The wall is super good, very fast, a lot of athletes made their personal bests today.”*


Aleksandra KALUCKA (POL), first with 6.55 seconds:

“Honestly, before the qualifications I started believing in my experience. I tried to know that I am experienced, I was so excited to compete. I knew that my body was prepared so well to compete and I wanted to feel the speed again and the adrenaline again. I am so happy that I competed under pressure and everything, and now I am so excited to compete tomorrow in the final.

“The qualification runs are the hardest runs for me and now it is going to be easier. The first run was so terrible for me because of the pressure. But the second run was just, ‘Let’s run’. Not thinking nothing about nothing.

“I was prepared to run faster. I think tomorrow I will be much faster but we will see. Today, that wasn’t my max.

“Yesterday I had a day off and it was so pleasant to spend free time, go to the coffee shop like a normal girl. It was an awesome day and now I am so happy.”

Capucine VIGLIONE (FRA), third with 6.68 seconds:

“Good. Confident. It was good to do a first run that good. On the second run I was just trying to stay safe. I made a mistake at the beginning because I was focused on not doing a false start, so I was not focused on what I should have been doing after that.

“My personal best was 6.71, so it’s not really a big step from 6.71 to 6.68. It’s the same for me but I am still happy because I wasn’t sure before the competition that I was able to do this.

“We have had a long time without competition. It’s hard for me in training, I am not at my best. I try everything but I can’t climb as fast as I do in competition. It’s really important for me to have competitions to see what I can do. I need that adrenaline. It’s the atmosphere. Two weeks ago we tried recreating a full competition in a training camp and it didn’t work at all. My best time was 7.70.”

Manon LEBON (FRA), 14th with 7.16 seconds:

“I am very happy, this is my first international competition this season, and it is cool to be in the final. I am happy with my performance. I was a little bit nervous before the start of the competition, but after practice I was okay. I can’t wait to compete in the final tomorrow, in this beautiful place and in front of all these people.”


Camilla MORONI (ITA), fifth with 135.7 points:

“The route was quite hard for me; I didn’t feel as good as yesterday and I got pumped very soon. I was stressed yesterday, then after Boulder qualification I was a bit more relaxed, but in general it’s very stressful. In fact, I think that mental preparation can play a big role in the event.”


Hannes VAN DUYSEN (BEL), seventh with 124.5 points:

“The Lead round was pure endurance, with only crimps on the wall. I kind of liked it, it was fun to climb it. When I fell, I hesitated a little bit because my focus was not good, but I think I had something left in me to climb some more.”


Valentina AGUADO (ARG), 32nd with 44.3 points:

“I think I could have done some things a little bit different, maybe have another top, but it is okay, I know that it is not finished because it is a two-discipline competition and tomorrow we have Lead. I have been training a lot in Lead, so I’m excited for tomorrow.

“In Boulder you never know what you are going to find on the wall, while it is easier to train endurance for Lead. The boulders today were really fun, I am really happy about being here, I was not nervous because I know I have done all the work, now I am just going to enjoy and give a good fight.

“It is supposed to be like World Cup, because it is a Boulder competition, you have five minutes, but I think that the atmosphere is different, it is kind of an Olympic event, the Olympic spirit is around, which is very nice. What is different is the points system, it is weird to see four boulders in a qualification round, but the rest is similar to a regular World Cup.”


Nicolai UZNIK (AUT), ninth with 64.5 points:

“It felt good to finally start the competition, it has been a long time preparing and thinking about it, so it is really good to finally get started. It was quite okay, I had a good start in the first two boulders, got close in the third, so the result is quite good for me. With Lead coming tomorrow, I think I can do another good performance.

“I was a bit more nervous than usually, especially the last few days, but once it started, I felt calmer and more confident again, I had weird feelings coming into this competition, because here you are not necessarily fighting for the top spot, for a win, you just want to qualify. It was hard to get this mentality out of my head and focus on my performance and my climbing. It is not easy, and I’m probably not the only one who felt that way.”

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