Climbing is the latest new sport to make its debut at the Tokyo Olympics, kicking off at the Aomi Urban Sports Park on Tuesday 3 August and joining the likes of skateboarding, mountain biking and surfing in taking a first bow in Japan.
Competitors ascend an artificial rock face using hand and foot holds across three disciplines: speed, bouldering and lead.
The first sees two climbers race to the top of a 15m wall, with the winner the first to strike a buzzer at the summit.
The second sees climbers complete routes, known as “problems”, one by one up a 4.5m course. Scores are determined according to the number of problems overcome and the courses are reset between the qualification heats and the finals.
The third discipline sees competitors climb as high as they can up a 15m wall inside six minutes in one go.
At the qualification stage, the 40 climbers in contention (no more than two per nation) compete in all three disciplines to determine their place in an overall ranking table, with the top eight ascending to the final.
The top eight compete again in the three events on modified courses in the finals.
The British interest in proceedings arrives in the shape of Shauna Coxsey MBE, 28, from Runcorn in Cheshire, who has said she will be retiring after these Games, which therefore represent her first and last shot at Olympic glory.
The sport’s great champion is the Czech climber Adam Ondra, who will also be in action in Tokyo.
The men’s competition commences with the qualifiers on 3 August, with the finals taking place on Thursday 5 August, while the women’s event begins on Wednesday 4 August, followed by the finals on Friday 6 August.
The drama is being broadcast live in the UK on BBC TV, on the iPlayer, Red Button and online as well as on Eurosport via the Eurosport Player.
A £6.99 monthly pass and a three-day free trial is available for the latter.
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