SPORT CLIMBING / ADAM ONDRA QUALIFIES FOR OLYMPICS

Adam Ondra (This photo was downloaded from the athlete’s Facebook page and is being used for representation purpose. No copyright infringement intended.)

Adam Ondra, among the best sport climbers of his generation and one of the most widely recognized athletes from the field, has secured an invitation to compete at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

He qualified at the top of the table at the Combined Qualifier held by the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) over November 28-December 1, 2019 in Toulouse, France. This qualification took him into the finals at the event. As far as the Olympics is concerned, the crux was the qualifying round with the top six scheduled to get Olympic invites. News reports said that with Japan already filling its slots via results at the Combined World Championships held earlier in Hachioji, the two Japanese climbers – Kokoro Fujii and Meichi Narasaki – who were among top qualifiers at Toulouse wouldn’t get Olympic invites and most likely instead, see their results considered internally by the Japanese team. This left Olympic invites for the remaining six climbers.

Ondra who represents Czech Republic, had earlier failed to get an invitation to the Olympics following his disqualification at the Combined IFSC Climbing World Championships at Hachioji, Japan, where in the sub category of lead climbing, he was found to have accidentally stepped on a bolt resulting in his score being whittled down.  In the qualifying round at Toulouse, he placed first in lead climbing, second in bouldering and fourteenth in speed climbing. In the combined final, Ondra finished second ahead of Meichi Narasaki and behind Kokoro Fujii. Others qualifying at Toulouse for the 2020 Olympics, as per IFSC, were YuFei Pan (China), Alberto Gines Lopez (Spain), Jan Hojer (Germany), Bassa Mawem (France) and Nathaniel Coleman (USA) in the men’s category. Among women, the new names aboard from Toulouse are: Julia Chanourdie (France), Mia Krampl (Slovenia), Iuliia Kaplina (Russia), Kyra Condie (USA), Laura Rogora (Italy) and YiLing Song (China).

On November 30, Chinese news agency Xinhua had reported that Song should be getting her Olympic invite. The Chinese climber was placed ninth in the qualifying round. Xinhua based its conclusion on the fact that Japan’s Ai Mori who led the overall rankings and advanced to the eight-woman final together with compatriot Futaba Ito, who finished fifth, were both ineligible for Olympic invites given Japan already guaranteed full representation as the host of next year’s Olympics. Additionally, Lucka Rakovec of Slovenia, who placed second overall behind Mori in the qualifier at Toulouse, had already obtained an Olympic spot by finishing in the top seven at the world championships, Xinhua said. In its report dated December 1, on the women’s combined final results from Toulouse, IFSC has noted that it was a close battle between Slovenians, Lucka Rakovec and Mia Krampl.

At the time of writing, the names of those qualified post-Toulouse were yet to be added to IFSC’s confirmed list of athletes heading to Tokyo. IFSC has mentioned on its website that all qualification places are provisional until confirmed by each athlete’s National Olympic Committee (NOC). Formal invitations will be sent by the IFSC to the relevant NOCs within five days of the conclusion of the Combined Qualifier. The NOCs will then have two weeks to either confirm or decline the quota places.

Post Hachioji, those in the first list of qualified athletes (as available on the IFSC website; the list was titled: Sport Climbing’s First Olympic Qualified Athletes), were Janja Garnbret (Slovenia), Akiyo Noguchi (Japan), Shauna Coxsey (Great Britain), Aleksandra Miroslaw (Poland), Miho Nonaka (Japan), Petra Klinger (Switzerland) and Brooke Raboutou (USA) from the women’s category;  Tomoa Narasaki (Japan),  Jakob Schubert (Austria), Rishat Khaibullin (Kazakhstan), Kai Harada (Japan), Mickael Mawem (France), Alexander Megos (Germany) and Ludovico Fossali (Italy) from the men’s category. An updated list (dated November 11, 2019) available on the IFSC website also includes Sean McColl (Canada) and Jessica Pilz (Austria). Those qualified at Toulouse will join the above lot.

The final opportunity to qualify for the Olympics will be five IFSC Combined Continental Championships due to take place in 2020. The schedule as available on the IFSC website is – Africa, 1-3 May, Johannesburg (South Africa), Asia, 18-24 May, Morioka (Japan), Europe, 16-18 April, Moscow (Russia), Pan-Am, 27 February-1 March, Los Angeles (USA) and Oceania, 18-19 April, Sydney (Australia). Climber hoping to qualify should head to his / her respective continental championship.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics will mark sport climbing’s debut at the Olympic Games. One of the biggest impacts of the move has been the introduction of combined climbing championships, wherein the best climber across the sport’s three disciplines – lead climbing, bouldering and speed climbing – emerges winner. Altogether 40 climbers – 20 men and 20 women – will compete at the Olympics.

(The author, Shyam G Menon, is a freelance journalist based in Mumbai. For more on sport climbing’s selection process for the Olympics, please try this link: https://shyamgopan.com/2019/10/16/sport-climbing-phase-two-of-olympic-qualification-due-by-november-end/)

AT A GLANCE / DECEMBER 2019

Joshua Cheptegei (This photo was downloaded from the athlete’s Facebook page and is being used here for representation purpose. No copyright infringement intended)

Joshua Cheptegei sets new world record in 10K

Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei has set a new world record in the 10km road race, clocking 26 minutes 38 seconds at the 10K Valencia Trinidad Alfonso on December 1, a report available on the website of World Athletics (formerly International Association of Athletics Federations) said.

He took off six seconds from the previous record of 26:44 set by Kenya’s Patrick Komon in 2010.

Earlier this year at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha, Cheptegei had claimed gold in the 10,000m. He is also the 2019 world cross country champion.

According to Wikipedia, in 2018, he had set a world record in the 15km road race.  At the 2017 World Championships in London, he had been silver medalist in the 10,000m.

Russia banned from major sport events for four years

Russia has been banned for four years from major sport events by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Such major events include the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the 2022 FIFA World Cup due in Qatar, BBC reported on its website. The latest development in the doping scandal plaguing Russia follows a meeting of WADA’s executive committee in Lausanne, Switzerland on December 9. Their decision is essentially an approval of recommendations put forth by WADA’s Compliance Review Committee.

German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, in its report on the ban said, “ Russian athletes who can prove to WADA’s satisfaction that they are clean and were not part of what it believes was a state-sponsored system of doping will still be allowed to compete under a neutral flag.’’  However, ahead of WADA’s Lausanne meeting, BBC pointed out that while the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was open to clean Russian athletes competing under neutral flag, a majority of those on WADA’s influential Athletes’ Committee favored complete ban.

In January 2019, RUSADA, Russia’s anti-doping agency had been declared non-compliant given its manipulation of laboratory data provided to investigators. The data was a condition for the agency’s reinstatement in 2018 following its three year-suspension, effected earlier.

RUSADA has 21 days to appeal against the latest ban. If it does so, the appeal will be referred to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, BBC said.

Russia has been banned from competing as a nation in athletics, since 2015. The aftereffects of the doping scandal exposed some years ago, has been playing on for a while now. Notwithstanding the latest ban, Russia can participate in Euro 2022 as its organizing body – UEFA – is not classified as a major event organization, BBC said in its report.

Arvind, Naveen, Avisha; on the podium at Kathmandu (This photo was downloaded from Naveen John’s Facebook page and is being used here for representation purpose)

Naveen John, Arvind Panwar get gold and silver at 2019 South Asian Games

Indian cyclists, Naveen John and Arvind Panwar, finished first and second respectively in the Individual Time Trial (ITT) at the 2019 South Asian Games held in Nepal. Third place went to Avisha Mawatha of Sri Lanka. The timings were: Naveen – 00:49:22.250; Arvind – 00:49:29.500, Avisha: 52:15.540.

Based in Bengaluru, Naveen is one of the most experienced bicycle racers in the country. For more on Naveen please try these links: https://shyamgopan.com/2018/03/23/the-electrical-engineer/ and https://shyamgopan.com/2019/06/22/naveen-john-time-to-rewire/.

Mohit, Tsetan win at Vasai Virar Mayor’s Marathon

Mohit Rathore was winner overall and topper in the elite men’s category at the 2019 Indiabulls Home Loans Vasai Virar Mayor’s Marathon. He completed the full marathon in 02:24:15 ahead of Sukhdev Singh (02:31:36) and Dharmender (02:32:33).

Tsetan Dolkar, part of the team of Ladakhi runners supported by Rimo expeditions and visiting the races of the plains every winter, was winner in the women’s open category. She completed the full marathon in 03:10:27. Timtim Sharma (03:34:43) placed second and Jayalakshmi Balakrishnan (03:38:25), third. There was no elite women’s category this time. The men’s open category was won by Ranjit Singh (02:33:15), Nilesh Sudam Murumkar (02:41:43) and Kishanlal Kosriya (02:44:47) in that order.

In the elite men’s category of the half marathon, Anish Thapa (01:04:35) placed first, followed by Tirtha Pun (01:04:41) and Dinesh Kumar (01:04:45). In the corresponding category for women, the winner was Kiran Sahdev (01:17:49) followed by Komal Jagadale (01:18:21) and Nandini Gupta (01:19:10). The men’s open category in the half marathon was topped by Bhagesh Patil (01:09:18), followed by Ramesh Bhaurao Gavali (01:11:15) and Arun Dhansing Rathod (01:11:32). Aradhana Singh (01:28:42) finished first in the women’s open category of the half marathon. Babita Nishad (01:31:13) placed second and Madhuri Deshmukh (01:32:19), third.

Vasai-Virar is a city located a little over 50 kilometers north of Mumbai.

Work on main stadium of 2020 Olympics completed

Tokyo’s National Stadium, the main venue of next year’s Summer Olympic Games and host to the athletics competition, was officially completed end-November 2019.

Construction of the stadium, which will have capacity for about 60,000, began in December 2016. It was completed in 36 months at a cost of 157 billion yen (1.4 billion dollars). Besides the athletics competition scheduled over July 31 to August 10, the stadium will also host the opening and closing ceremonies, a report available on the website of World Athletics said.

Officially called the National Stadium, it will be known as Olympic Stadium during the Tokyo Games.

(The author, Shyam G Menon, is a freelance journalist based in Mumbai.)