The 2019 IFSC World Championships were held earlier this month over a mammoth 11 days from 11 – 21 August, 2019 in Hachioji, Japan. As this was an Olympic selection event, more than just the podiums were on the line. The top 7 from the combined event would receive a provisional invite to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games to represent their country.
Competitors stamina was put to the ultimate test as they competed in all disciplines with minimal rest days in between. For the top 20 athletes there was a total of 7 climbing days of the 11 day event. Meanwhile, spectators were introduced to the Olympic format and what to expect at Tokyo 2020.
Australia sent a large team with 12 athletes representing their country. Congratulations to all our athletes: Ben Abel, Grace Crowley, Alexander Cvetkovski, Anna Davey, Thomas Farrell, Campbell Harrison, Sam Lavender, Oceana Mackenzie, Tiffany Melius, Tom O’Halloran, Roxy Perry and Lucy Stirling.
Our three Victorian athletes Grace Crowley, Campbell Harrison and Oceana Mackenzie all had an excellent competition. On the speed wall Crowley set a new PB of 12.24seconds as her training continues to drive her results. Mackenzie also performed on the speed wall setting the new Australian Female record of 9.12seconds.
For the combined format, which included Harrison and Mackenzie, the Victorians performed superbly. Harrison placed 60th overall and Mackenzie placed 29th overall – only nine places from making the combined qualifications – making them the highest ranked Australian athletes.
During the combined event, tensions were high as controversy happened throughout the competition. There were two instances where athletes stepped on bolts in the lead event, ultimately leading to Adam Ondra not making it through to finals. There was further controversy as the judging was appealed over Janja Garnbret’s score, which in the end was denied and her score remained unchanged. Then Alexander Megos had to leave the competition early, injuring his finger on the first boulder problem of finals.
The home Japanese team came prepared having four athletes in the finals for both male and female categories. Due to the Olympic qualification rules that state only two athletes from each country will receive an invitation to the Olympics, two additional athletes outside of the top 7 were offered a place meaning athletes down to 9th place were offered a provisional place.
This was just the first of a series of qualifying events leading up to Tokyo 2020 with the next event set to occur from 28 November – 1 December 2019 in Toulouse France. This event will see the 6 highest placed athletes per gender offered a place if they haven’t already qualified and they are within maximum quota’s.
For Australia, the next event to qualify after this will be the Oceania Championships held in the first half of 2020 in Sydney, NSW.
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