UKC

IFSC Africa and Oceania Championships Report - Final Four Future Olympians Named

© IFSC

The IFSC Africa and Oceania Continental Championships took place simultaneously this weekend in Cape Town, South Africa and Sydney, Australia last weekend. The final four Olympic quota places for the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games were awarded to the winning climbers in each category, bringing the number of Sport Climbing athletes with confirmed and provisional quota places to the total of 40.

The women's field in the IFSC Africa Continental Championships.  © IFSC
The women's field in the IFSC Africa Continental Championships.
© IFSC

After multiple postponements of each event throughout the year, the African Championships kicked off first with two countries represented: South Africa and Uganda. 22 climbers took part and the win came down to the wire, with 20-year-old Christopher Cosser (RSA) battling it out against his teammate Chris Naude, who was leading following the Speed and Boulder rounds. Christopher topped the final route to take the win in Lead, with just two points separating the pair.

Christopher Cosser tops the Lead final route to win the Africa Continental Championships.  © IFSC
Christopher Cosser tops the Lead final route to win the Africa Continental Championships.
© IFSC

17-year-old Durban-based Erin Sterkenburg dominated the women's competition by winning each discipline across both the qualification and final rounds. Georgiana Dorward (RSA) placed 2nd and Tegwen Oates (RSA) finished third. Erin told UKC:

'The Africa Cup was such an amazing event to compete in. Although it was stressful, I had such fun climbing the routes and boulders and competing with all the other ladies. I am so excited to be going to Tokyo next year, it hasn't fully sunk in yet.'

Simon Ofoyuru (UGA, left) was one of two Ugandan competitors.  © IFSC
Simon Ofoyuru (UGA, left) was one of two Ugandan competitors.
© IFSC

The event was of great significance, not only because of the Olympic spots up for grabs, but also - and more importantly - for the growing climbing scene in African countries. The IFSC commented:

'Years from now, people will look back on the 2020 IFSC African Championships in Cape Town as a fundamental milestone in the development and growth of Sport Climbing in Africa. The Sport Climbing family once again displayed its fierce commitment to the sport by uniting to overcome adversity.'

Erin Sterkenberg (RSA) swept the women's field in the African Championships.  © IFSC
Erin Sterkenberg (RSA) swept the women's field in the African Championships.
© IFSC

'The IFSC would like to thank the City of Cape Town and the entire local organising committee for never losing confidence, for always believing and for finally delivering this historic Olympic qualification event.'

The men's African Championship line-up.  © IFSC
The men's African Championship line-up.
© IFSC

Replays avaliable on the ClimbAfrica2020 YouTube Channel.

IFSC Africa Continental Championships Combined Final Results

Men

1. Christopher Cosser (RSA) 4.0 ranking points - provisional Olympic quota place awarded

2. David Naude (RSA) 6.0

3. Calrin Curtis (RSA) 24.0

4. Oliver Marx (RSA) 48.0

5. James Barnes (RSA) 105.0

6. Tony Flynn (RSA) 150.0

7. Christopher Wallace (RSA) 294.0

8. Matthew Grunewald (RSA) 512.0

Women

1. Erin Sterkenburg (RSA) 1.0 ranking points - provisional Olympic quota place awarded

2. Georgiana Dorward (RSA) 16.0

3. Tegwen Oates (RSA) 27.0

4. Catherine Honegger (RSA) 56.0

5. Caitlyn Burwood (RSA) 144.0

6. Alyssa Meyer (RSA) 175.0

7. Danielle Visser (RSA) 210.0

8. Credo Kasemire (UGA) 512.0

***

Meanwhile, Down Under in Sydney, the IFSC Oceania Championships - reduced to a two-day event due to COVID-19 travel restrictions - was underway. In the men's event, multiple contenders for the win shone throughout each round. Tom Farrell (AUS) and Tom O'Halloran (AUS) lead the qualifier round on 6 points each. Unfortunately, last-minute lockdowns in Sydney impacted the startlist, with many athletes heading home before the qualification round or before the final to avoid having to spend Christmas away from home.

In the final, Tom O'Halloran demonstrated consistency by placing 2nd in each round, with close competition from Ben Abel (AUS) and Tom Farrell once again. Seasoned Australian competition veteran James Kassay won Lead on countback to time, boosting his ranking to 3rd with 18 points. Ben Abel's 3 points after Speed and Boulder combined with his 5th place in Lead couldn't beat Tom O'Halloran's 6 points after his 2nd place sweep across the board.

James Kassay takes the win in lead and 3rd place overall.  © Nathan McNeil/IFSC
James Kassay takes the win in lead and 3rd place overall.
© Nathan McNeil/IFSC

'You only get one go in your life to try and be an Olympian,' O'Halloran told the IFSC shortly after the finals. 'I had some pretty serious ups and down with my motivation. I nearly pulled out, because it was just too difficult. The training, the juggle with work and family life, missing out on time with my daughter and partner. The things that kept me going was 'What am I going to feel like the morning of the competition when I'm not there?' I feel really proud of the work that I've put in, regardless of the result.'

Tom O'Halloran: husband, father, future Olympian.  © Sport Climbing Australia
Tom O'Halloran: husband, father, future Olympian.
© Sport Climbing Australia

Boulder World Cup finalist Oceana Mackenzie was a clear favourite going in to the competition and made her mark as a world-class athlete by clean-sweeping all three rounds in both qualification and in the final, with no falls throughout. 16-year-old Australian rock climbing star Angie Scarth-Johnson finished 2nd with consistent 3rd, 2nd and 2nd places across Speed, Boulder and Lead. Ella Easton finished 3rd with 42 points.

Boulder World Cup finalist Oceana Mackenzie - a firm favourite in the Oceania Continental Championships.  © Nathan McNeil/IFSC
Boulder World Cup finalist Oceana Mackenzie - a firm favourite in the Oceania Continental Championships.
© Nathan McNeil/IFSC

Commenting on her win, Oceana told the IFSC:

'It was very stressful, but I'm so happy,' Oceana told the IFSC. 'I was a little nervous warming up and getting all my stuff together, but once I started climbing I was like 'Okay, this is good!' I had a very good time. Now we'll get back into training, seeing where we can travel to next year to compete at a high level, doing a couple of World Cups per discipline.'

Replays available on the Sport Climbing Australia YouTube channel.

IFSC Oceania Continental Championships Combined Final Results

Men

1. Tom O'Halloran (AUS) 8.0 ranking points - provisional Olympic quota place awarded

2. Ben Abel (AUS) 15.0

3. James Kassay (AUS) 18.0

4. Thomas Farrell (AUS) 18.0

5. Ned Middlehurst (AUS) 80.0

6. Chase Gatland (NZL) 120.0

7. Hugo Hornshaw (AUS) 392.0

8. Campbell Harrison (AUS) DNF

Women

1. Oceania Mackenzie (AUS) 1.0 ranking points - provisional Olympic quota place awarded

2. Angie Scarth-Johnson (AUS) 12.0

3. Ella Easton (AUS) 42.0

4. Siobhan Dobie (AUS) 64.0

5. Lucinda Ann Stirling (AUS) 147.0

6. Mia Weeda (AUS) 150.0

7. Cirrus Tan (NZL) 240.0

8. Leah Jeffries (AUS) 384.0

Check out our UKC Tokyo 2020 Athlete Profile database, with 8 new profiles incoming...


This post has been read 5,924 times

Return to Latest News


Support UKC

As climbers we strive to make UKClimbing the kind of website we would love to visit, with the most up-to-date news, diverse and interesting articles, comprehensive gear reviews, breathtaking photographs and a vast and useful logbook system. As a result, an incredible community has formed around the site - we’ve provided the framework but it’s you who make the website what it is today. If you appreciate the content we offer then you can help us by becoming an official UKC Supporter. This can be a one-off single annual payment or a more substantial payment paid monthly or yearly which includes full access to Rockfax Digital and discounts on Rockfax print publications.

If you appreciate UKClimbing then please help us by becoming a UKC Supporter.

UKC Supporter

  • Support the website we all know and love
  • Access to a year's subscription to Rockfax Digital.
  • Plus 30% off Rockfax guidebooks
  • Plus Show your support UKC porter badge on your profile and forum posts
UKC/UKH/Rockfax logo

21 Dec, 2020

Out of interest what is the barrier to wider participation in the competition in Africa - is it costs, pandemic constraints or just that no other African countries have any competition climbers because people don't have the opportunity to take it up? Have there been any previous competitions at continental level?

I appreciate climbing is far less accessible to Africans than to most of the world, but I'm not sure just how inaccessible. eg, would I find a climbing wall in any or most African capital cities?

22 Dec, 2020

Apparently the only people who climb in Africa are White South Africans.

22 Dec, 2020

Except for the Ugandans who participated......

Yes, it was always going to be south Africans who dominated the comp, Africa is weak relative to other continents. If the comp had taken place under "normal " circumstances there would have been more , but there are still travel restrictions in place. At least it's a start for the continent.

22 Dec, 2020

I've lived in Sierra Leone for the last 3 years. The small bouldering wall we set up is the only one in West Africa. Excluding South Africa, the only other countries I'm aware of that have anything are Malawi, Kenya and Morocco - but even those are pretty basic facilities that you probably wouldn't bother going to in the UK.

The barriers to getting to Olympic level in any country other than South Africa are practically insurmountable as things currently stand.

22 Dec, 2020

Thanks for the info, definitely answers the question!

More Comments
Loading Notifications...
Facebook Twitter Copy Email LinkedIn Pinterest