News Flash: Toby Roberts qualifies for Paris Olympic Games
- Monday 30th October 2023
After an outstanding performance at the European Qualifier in Laval over the weekend Toby Roberts qualified for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
Toby Roberts became the first British male to qualify for the Paris Game when he won the European Qualifier in Laval over the weekend. Toby dominated the semi-final and the final rounds of the event out-climbing many established stars of the sport such has the Tokyo Olympic Champion Alberto Gines Lopez and all–time great Adam Ondra.
Toby’s rise to the forefront of competition sport climbing has been little short of incredible. Still only climbing in his first full season as a senior, Toby won Gold medals in both the IFSC World Cup Boulder and Lead events earlier this year. After a stellar performance at The World Championships in August in Bern, Toby narrowly missed qualifying for the Paris Games. The competition at Laval this weekend was the next opportunity for European-based climbers to qualify and Toby climbed brilliantly all weekend.
Having won both the Boulder and Lead rounds in the semi-final, Toby qualified for the finals in top place with over 30 points ahead of his nearest rival, Adam Ondra. In the nail-biting final rounds yesterday Toby finished the Boulder round in second place behind French star Sam Avezou so went into the Lead round with a slight point deficit.
Climbing last, and against a high point set by German ace Yannik Flohe, Toby’s fate - and Olympic qualification – lay in his own hands. Lead specialists Adam Ondra and Alberto Gines Lopez had both fallen below Flohe’s highpoint as had Sam Avezou; all four climbers had finished with scores between 130.8 and 133.7. With the entire auditorium on a knife-edge, Toby first climbed past Sam Avezou’s highpoint, then equalled that of Alberto Gines Lopez and Adam Ondra. As the crowd erupted in celebration of his win, Toby continued and soon surpassed Yannik Flohe’s high point. Toby however wasn’t done yet; in a dramatic finishing sideways lunge Toby leapt for and held the final finishing hold to finish on a perfect 100 points. With a combined score of 169.8pts Toby had not only won the competition but also secured the all-important Olympic Qualification.
Toby’s victory margin of nearly 40points over a stacked field was an outstanding performance; truly remarkable from the young Brit who will now follow in Shauna Coxsey’s footsteps as an Olympian! Toby’s closest rival, defending Olympic Champion Alberto Gines Lopez, finished on 133.7pts ahead of Sam Avezou on 132.9 whilst Adam Ondra and Yannik Flohe finished on 132.9 and 130.8 respectively. Gines Lopez, Avezou, Ondra, Flohe and all the other top European competition climbers not yet qualified will now have to continue training over the winter and compete in the Olympic Qualification Series in the spring/summer next year in order to try to qualify for the Paris Games.
More details about the European Qualifier will follow in another report.