Where do we stand on Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualification in sport climbing?

Japanese climbers face a nervous wait after 14 athletes booked their spots in Tokyo at the IFSC World Championships in Hachioji, Japan.

By ZK Goh

We now know the names of the first sport climbing athletes to secure their spots at an Olympic Games.

The Combined qualifications at the 2019 IFSC Climbing World Championships were the opening opportunity for climbers to qualify for Tokyo 2020, where the sport makes its Olympic debut.

Here we take a look at who has guaranteed their place, and some surprise names who will need to try again.

Seven places were on offer in Hachioji for both men and women for the Games. However, each National Olympic Committee is limited to a maximum of two athletes.

Japan were guaranteed at least one spot in each gender as hosts of next year's Games and with multiple Japanese athletes finishing in the top seven in each gender, the Japanese federation opted to only take one of their spots on offer from the World Championships in order to retain their host country selection.

Japanese domination

The hosts of the World Championships and next year's Olympics, Japan are traditionally strong in the sport, and they showed it in Hachioji.

Four home athletes qualified for the Combined final at the worlds in each gender, meaning their athletes were the only ones in the finals not yet assured of Tokyo 2020 berths going into the final.

Just the top Japanese climber in each final would book their place at the Olympics and that prize went to Akiyo Noguchi who came so close to denying Janja Garnbret a hat-trick of world titles in Hachioji.

Noguchi also took silver in the bouldering behind the great Slovenian climber.

Fifth-placed Miho Nonaka, 15-year-old Ai Mori and Futaba Ito will have to convince the Japanese federation to pick them and that decision could come after next May's Asian Championships in Morioko.

Tomoa Narasaki routed his rivals in the men's Combined final to take his second gold of the championships and claim the one Tokyo 2020 Japanese men's place up for grabs.

The 23-year-old had already regained the Bouldering world title he won previously in 2016.

His victory means younger brother Meichi, Kokoro Fujii and Kai Harada will all have to battle it out for the second available slot at next year's Games..

Garnbret leads women's qualifiers

Having dominated the World Cup circuit, Slovenia's Garnbret took three golds at the World Championships including the successful defence of her Combined crown.

Shauna Coxsey, a 26-year-old from Sheffield ranked 11th in the World Cup standings, took bronze after heading qualifying in Hachioji.

That was the Briton's second bronze of the week having collected her first in Bouldering.

Joining them and Noguchi in Tokyo will be two-time speed world champion Aleksandra Miroslaw (Poland) and former Bouldering world champion Petra Klingler (Switzerland) who finished fourth and eighth respectively in the Hachioji final.

The next two non-Japanese athletes in qualification - Brooke Raboutou (USA) and Jessica Pilz (Austria) - will also return to Tokyo next year.

Schubert and Megos among men's Olympians

Jakob Schubert had a disappointing Combined final by his high standards, but Austria's three-time world champion took silver after becoming the only man to reach the top in the Lead section.

The bronze went to surprise package Rishat Khaibullin with the Kazakh speed specialist denied silver by Narasaki's final climb in the Lead.

Lead silver medallist Alexander Megos (Germany) injured a finger in the Combined final but had already booked his place in Tokyo.

Seventh-placed Mickael Mawem (France) is also going to the Olympics along with new speed world champion Ludovico Fossali of Italy, and Canada's three-time former Combined world champion Sean McColl who finished ninth and 10th respectively in qualification.

Big names miss out

There were some big surprises from the Combined qualifications at the worlds.

Chinese 16-year-old Zhang Yuetong, ranked fifth on this year's women's World Cup circuit, failed to even make the Combined event after failing to finish in the top 20 overall at the worlds.

She gets another chance at November's Olympic Qualifying Event (OQE) in Toulouse, France, which is open to the top 20 athletes in the World Cup rankings who have not already qualified for the Olympic Games (taking country limitations into account).

The same is true for USA's six-time youth world champion Ashima Shiraishi who blamed her sub-par showings in Hachioji on a "very vulnerable and overwhelmed state of mind after a conflict with a beloved family member" just before the event.

The 16-year-old daughter of Japanese immigrants will be desperate to make the Games and gets another chance in Toulouse.

In the men's, China's world number four Pan Yufei and Great Britain's fifth-ranked Will Bosi will also go to Toulouse hoping for better fortune after struggling in Japan.

The biggest name to miss out in Hachioji was lead world champion Adam Ondra.

The Czech reached hold 34 in the lead section but was later adjudged to have illegally stepped on a bolt used for clipping a rope into just after the 10th hold, leaving him down in 18th and out of the final.

As he is not on the World Cup combined rankings, Ondra may get just one future opportunity to qualify for Tokyo at next April's European Championships in Moscow.

The last hope for athletes who do not qualify through the OQE or continental championships is one Tripartite Commission invitational place with national Olympic committees applying on a climber's behalf.

Those athletes must have competed at the Combined World Championships to be eligible for consideration.

Qualification pathway to Tokyo 2020

20–21 August 2019 IFSC Combined World Championships 2019 in Hachioji, Japan (7 places per gender)

28 November–1 December 2019 IFSC Olympic Qualifying Event in Toulouse, France (6 places per gender)

27 February–1 March 2020 IFSC Combined Pan-American Championships 2020 in San Francisco, USA (1 place per gender)

16–18 April 2020 IFSC Combined European Championships 2020 in Moscow, Russia (1 place per gender)

18–19 April 2020 IFSC Combined Oceania Championships 2020 in Sydney, Australia (1 place per gender)

1–3 May 2020 IFSC Combined African Championships 2020 in Johannesburg, South Africa (1 place per gender)

18–24 May 2020 IFSC Combined Asian Championships 2020 in Morioka, Japan (1 place per gender)

Host country spot (1 place per gender, re-allocated to the 2019 IFSC Combined World Championships)

Tripartite Commission invitation (1 place per gender)

6 July 2020 Tokyo 2020 Sports Entries Deadline