GB Climbing heads to Hachioji for first-ever Olympic Qualification Event in Sport Climbing at IFSC World Championships 2019

Six of our GB Climbing athletes are in Hachioji ready to see if they’ve got what it takes to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. This week not only marks the start of the IFSC Climbing World Championships Hachioji 2019 but also the first official Olympic Qualifying Event in the history of Sport Climbing! Find out who will be representing us and how to watch all the action live.

It’s a historic week for Sport Climbing as the first stage of selection for the Olympic Games is primed to kick-off next week. Six members of GB Climbing are out in Tokyo to compete in the 2019 IFSC World Championships targeting glory in individual events as well as securing a place at the Olympic Games where Sport Climbing will make its debut at Tokyo 2020.

The World Championships, an 11-day celebration of Sport Climbing taking place 11-21 August in Hachioji, Japan is a packed programme covering the individual disciplines of bouldering, lead and speed which climaxes with the historic Combined Olympic Selection event.

In the much-anticipated Combined event, the best 20 climbers out of the more than 170 athletes competing in the individual bouldering, lead and speed events will take to the stage to battle it out across all the disciplines once again over the final three days of the World Championships. The seven best athletes per gender, with a maximum of two per country, will qualify to represent their nations at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games where Sport Climbing will make its historic debut.

GB Climbing fans have much to look forward to over the event as they’ll have the chance to cheer on six of our GB Climbing athletes as they gun for glory across all the individual disciplines, and fans will see history made in the Combined event where for the first time ever climbers will have the chance to qualify and climb in the Olympic Games.

Shauna Coxsey, Will Bosi and Billy Ridal are all aiming to make the cut for the combined event at the end of the programme and challenge for one of the seven Olympic spots up for grabs in the women’s and men’s side of the competition.

Both Coxsey, 26 from Runcorn and Bosi, 21 from Edinburgh will be buoyed by performances across all three disciplines during the 2019 season which sees them sit in 11th and 6th in the overall combined rankings currently which guarantees them a place at the second Olympic selection event at the end of November in Toulouse but will be hoping to secure a place at Tokyo 2020 at the first time of asking in Hachioji. Ridal, 22 from Selston, missed out on the Lead and Speed rounds earlier this year but will be seeking to draw upon his experience at the previous World Championships in Innsbruck last year where he competed across all three disciplines.

All athletes seeking Olympic qualification in Hachioji face the daunting challenge of competing in each Individual discipline as well as the Combined event which means that those who reach the Combined final could be competing up to seven days out of the eleven-day programme.

In the individual disciplines, two-time British Bouldering Champion Nathan Phillips will be hoping to better his stunning performance at the World Championships in Innsbruck last year where he made finals in Bouldering and finished 6th. Molly Thompson-Smith will be challenging for a podium place in Lead climbing and will be boosted by a strong display in Chamonix in July where she made finals and finished sixth. Hachioji will be the first World Championships for Jo Neame in her first full year as a senior team member and will be looking to gain valuable experience at competing on the global stage.

About GB Climbing

The GB Climbing Team is run by the British Mountaineering Council (BMC) who is the national governing body and IFSC-recognised international federation for Sport Climbing in the UK. The BMC leads a network of dedicated individuals to support the GB Climbing Team and nurture the development of new talent.

The BMC manages the GB Climbing Teams, Talent and Performance pathways, national and international competition events in the UK, and proudly promotes the future of our sport.

Dave Turnbull, BMC CEO, says: “The GB Climbing Team is in an incredibly healthy position with members challenging for top honours across both the men and women’s side of the competition in Japan. As the national governing body for Sport Climbing, the BMC is helping develop elite talent through its partnership with UK Sport and the English Institute of Sport as well as nurturing future world-class talent by development pathways built in partnership with Sport England.”

Zoe Spriggins, BMC competitions programme manager, says: “I continue to be blown away by the dedication and talent of the climbers within the GB Climbing Team who have already delivered on the world stage in 2019. My team and I have been working closely with the athletes and their coaching teams across the season to support them in preparation for key events in the season such as the World Championships in Hachioji.”

Tom Greenall, head coach of GB Climbing, says: “I am excited by the wealth of talent the GB Climbing Team has to offer. The World Championships in Hachioji offers members of the team the opportunity to compete against the very best in the World and provide invaluable experience to support their development as elite climbers. I look forward to working closely with the team as I take up my role following the event in September.”

FIND OUT MORE: read What is GB Climbing? on the BMC website

How to follow the action

Get behind the team and follow GB Climbing on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to catch all of the action as it happens. To watch the athletes compete and make history in the World Championships 2019 use the links and embedded videos in the article via the link below on the BMC website or head on over to the IFSC’s YouTube channel to cheer on GB Climbing and see the action from individual disciplines as well as the combined finals.