|IFSC World Cup||Wins||Podiums|
YiLing Song (CHN) Age: 19
Beijing-born YiLing Song has been something of a sensation in the Speed climbing world over the past few seasons, but there was little to indicate from her early results what she would eventually do. Sure, there was the win in the Youth A Asian Speed Championships in 2017, but not everyone who wins at that level of event goes on to become a World Record holder and World Cup season champion like Song has.
2018 was a decent year for the Chinese climber but 2019 was scarcely believable - she won three World Cups on the way to becoming season champion, broke the World record and then clinched Olympic qualification in Toulouse. With Iuliia Kaplina, Aleksandra Miroslaw and Anouck Jaubert also qualified for Tokyo, Song will not have the Speed part of the Olympic event all to herself by any means, but she can beat any of them on her day and her personal best time is the lowest of any of the qualified Olympians.
Toulouse Combined Qualifier: 9th place
The Chinese team have invested heavily in their coaches and facilities, so there was pressure on everyone in the organisation (not just the climbers) to deliver some Olympians. Luckily they were armed with Song, who finished 9th in Toulouse - not enough to make the final but enough for an Olympic slot because there were so many Japanese climbers ahead of her.
Song held the women’s Speed World record (at 7.101 seconds) for 6 months until it was surpassed in Xiamen in 2019 by Aries Susanti Rahayu (IDN).
Given that she is only world class in one discipline, and relatively inexperienced, Song will need to win the Speed part of the qualifying round to stand a chance of making the final. We don’t think she’ll manage it and predict a finish in the bottom half of the results.