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Sport climbing 2021 - Top things to know as Olympic season starts in Switzerland

The first event of the IFSC 2021 World Cup season will see the best Boulder climbers compete Meiringen as they begin final preparations for the Olympic debut of the sport at the Tokyo 2020 Games in 2021. 
By Sanjeev Palar

The sport climbing 2021 season is ready to swing into action, with a Boulder World Cup event in Meiringen, scheduled to get the Olympic year going for the top climbers on April 16 & 17.

With the list of the 20 male and 20 female athletes already qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in 2021 finalized by the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) on 9 March, the resumption of competition will be welcomed by the competitors as part of the build up to their Games debuts.

The year ahead also includes the Climbing World Championships in September.

You can follow action from the 2021 Climbing World Cup season, starting with the season-opener in Switzerland, live on Olympic Channel.

Top boulder climbers delighted ahead of 2021 season opener

After the disruption of 2020, it comes as no surprise that the athletes are delighted with the resumption of competition.

The first climbing world cup event of the 2021 calendar is in the Boulder discipline, taking place in Meiringen, Switzerland on April 16 & 17.

It'll be taking place without spectators present, but home favourite Petra Klinger posted her appreciation to the organizers for making it happen

" I will miss my home crowd a lot, but I will give my best for them and for all the people organizing and making this amazing competition possible!! Thanks" - Petra Klinger

Austrian climbers Jessica Pilz and Jakob Schubert have also been warming for the World Cup season opener by competing in the European bouldering Cup event held in Klagenfurt. Schubert won bouldering silver at the 2019 World Championships.

But the woman to beat will be Olympic gold medal favourite Janja Garnbret, who shared her excitement in a post on social media. The eight-time overall World Cup winner from Slovenia is amongst the athletes who have qualified for the Olympic Games in 2021, and posted a picture of her delight while training in Meiringen.

Sport climbers to watch in 2021 and leading up to the Tokyo 2020 Games

While Garnbret has been the standout female climber for several years, and will be the one to beat in the World Cup series, the men's side is far more open.

Czech Republic's Adam Ondra is one of the men's favourites for a medal in Tokyo. Nathaniel Coleman, nicknamed "Captain America", will also be one to watch. He was the first male U.S climber to qualify for the Games. Both will be in action on the opening weekend in Meiringen.

READ: Olympic sport climbing at Tokyo 2020: Top five things to know

Sport Climbing World Cup Calendar 2021

With all the qualification sports for the Tokyo 2020 Games having been decided, the World Cup season will be an important one to build up to their Olympic debut.

Athletes who didn't book a place at Tokyo will also be looking for shock wins throughout the season, which includes the Climbing World Championships in September.

Here are the World Cup events that have been currently scheduled ahead of the Olympic Games in Tokyo which begin on 23 July 2021:

16-17 April - Boulder - Meiringen, SUI

21-22 May - Boulder - Sal Lake City, USA

28-30 May - Boulder, Speed - Salt Lake City, USA

23-26 June - Boulder, Lead - Innsbruck, AUT

1-3 July - Lead, Speed - Villars, SUI

12-13 July - Lead - Chamonix, FRA

17-18 July - Lead - Briancon, FRA

Sport climbing's debut at the Olympics will run from 3 to 6 August and will feature a combined competition format, where athletes will compete in all three disciplines: speed, bouldering, and lead.

How to watch sport climbing events live in 2021

You can watch and stream live action from the 2021 Climbing World Cup season, starting with the season-opener in Switzerland, live on Olympic Channel.

The action in Meiringen will be available right here on 16 & 17th April 2021.

Before that, you can re-live the drama of the Olympic qualifying events in our original series, Road to Tokyo: Sport Climbing - The Qualifier Stories, with all episodes available to stream now for free on Olympic Channel.