5 things you may not know about sport climbing ahead of Tokyo 2020

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Shauna Coxsey will become the first sport climber to represent Great Britain at the Olympics later this year.

The 27-year-old from Runcorn is a former World Cup winner and a strong medal contender when the sport makes its debut at the Games in Tokyo.

Here, the PA news agency introduces five things you may not have known about sport climbing as it prepares for its big Olympic bow.

Disciplines

Alberto Gotta climbs in the lead semi-finals during the IFSC Climbing World Cup
Alberto Gotta climbs in the lead semi-finals during the IFSC Climbing World Cup (Jane Barlow/PA)

Olympic climbing consists of a combination of three disciplines – speed, bouldering and lead – with medals awarded based on the cumulative placements across each discipline. Speed climbing is a head-to-head elimination on a 12m wall. Bouldering involves the scaling of various routes on a 4m wall. In lead, athletes are given a set time to reach as high up a 12m wall as possible.

Tall order

History

Arguably, this will not be the first time climbing has been recognised at the Olympics – nor would Coxsey be the first British climber to win a medal. At the 1924, 1932 and 1936 Games, medals were awarded for alpinism, recognising the most notable feat accomplished over the preceding Games cycle – for example, gold medals were awarded to the participants in the successful 1922 conquest of Mount Everest, led by Briton Charles Granville Bruce. The question of whether these medals qualify as official Olympic titles is still under dispute.

Contenders

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Hitting the heights

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