Road to Paris: Budapest Sport Climbing OQS Preview

The pressure and the weather heat up in Budapest as athletes have one more shot at winning a ticket to the Olympics.

Road to Paris: Budapest Sport Climbing OQS Preview
The Chain Bridge in Budapest at night

The final event of the first Olympic Qualifier Series starts in Budapest today. By Olympic Day on Sunday, June 23, we will know who our 68 Sport Climbing 2024 Olympians are. Shanghai and Budapest are equally weighted in the Series, so anything could still happen with 50 points on offer in Budapest.

For most of the tickets, we will know who is going to Paris by the end of Saturday, as the Boulder&Lead semi-final will decide most of the 12 tickets per sex on offer. The Speed final will conclude in the evening to allocate the 7 Speed tickets. Only the inter-country competition for tickets will be decided in the Boulder&Lead finals on Sunday.

Becoming an Olympian can change an athlete’s career, no matter how they do at the Olympics. Those who can cope best with the pressure and the 30ºC heat will secure their ticket.

What you need to know

Location: Budapest, Hungary

Olympic Tickets: 7 Olympic tickets will be awarded in Speed and 12 in combined Boulder&Lead per sex. Athletes are ranked by the total number of points scored over both events.


June 20

  • 12:00 - Boulder Qualifications (Male & Female)

June 21

  • 10:00 - Lead Qualifications (Male & Female)
  • 17:00 - Speed Qualifications (Female)
  • 17:50 - Speed Qualifications (Male)

June 22

  • 10:00 - Boulder Semi-finals (Male & Female)
  • 14:00 - Lead Semi-finals (Male & Female)
  • 18:15 - Speed Finals (Male & Female)

June 23

  • 10:00 - Boulder Finals (Female)
  • 12:05 - Lead Finals (Female)
  • 15:30 - Boulder Finals (Male)
  • 17:35 - Lead Finals (Male)

All times are CEST (UTC+2).

Where to watch: Olympic Channel. Finals will be streamed live on the Olympic YouTube channel, subject to geo-blocking.

Weather: The weather is currently expected to be around 29–31ºC and sunny throughout the competition. There is a small chance of rain overnight on Saturday into Sunday.

What are athletes competing in again?

32 athletes will compete in Speed climbing, with the fastest 16 from qualification advancing to the final. Athletes get two runs in qualification, and the fastest is used to rank athletes. Male athletes needed to run under 5.33s to reach the final in Shanghai, while Female athletes needed to run under 7.22s.

The final is run in a bracket format, with the first running against the 16th, 2nd against the 15th, 3rd against the 14th, etc., in the first run in the final. The format tries to get the fastest two athletes from qualification to meet in the final race for the final round. This is exactly what happened in Shanghai, where Veddriq Leonardo and Wu Peng raced in the final. Both ran under 5 seconds, and Leonardo set a new Asian record of 4.83s.

VEddriq and Wu
Veddriq and Wu were the fastest in Shanghai © Nakajima Kazushige / IFSC

48 athletes per sex will compete in Boulder&Lead. In each round, athletes compete on 4 boulders and 1 lead route and score points based on their performance. In Boulder, athletes score up to 25 points per route and up to 100 points in the round. In Lead, athletes score points for the top 40 holds, up to a maximum of 100 points. The top 20 athletes from the qualification round qualify for the semi-final and the top 8 from the semi-final advance to the final.

We have only had 3 Boulder&Lead qualification rounds: the European and Asian Olympic Qualifiers and the Shanghai OQS event. Discounting the Asian Qualifier, as the scores were all very low (less than 20 for female athletes and 40 for male athletes), the average score to reach the semi-final was 89 for male athletes and 94 for female athletes. In Shanghai, male athletes need to score higher than 94.3 points to reach the semi-final and female athletes need to score higher than 89.

We have 7 semi-finals in Boulder&Lead, and the average score to to reach the final for male athletes is 102 and 84 for female athletes. In Shanghai, male athletes needed to score 99.8 or higher and female athletes needed to score 104.7 points to reach the final.

Who is currently in an Olympic ticket spot?

The two-athlete limit per country for each discipline and sex has a big effect on who is in contention for an Olympic ticket spot. In Speed, many Chinese and Indonesian athletes are currently in the top 10, so even athletes down to 12th are in the running for an Olympic ticket. In Boulder&Lead the competition is closer, with only athletes down to 13th currently in an Olympic spot.

Based on the points scored in Shanghai, taking into account the two-athlete limit per country, the athletes in the Olympic ticket spots prior to Budapest are:

Female Speed

  • Zhou Yafei (China) – 50 points
  • Raji’ah Sallsabillah (Indonesia) – 45 points
  • Natalia Kalucka (Poland) – 41 points
  • Jeong Jimin (South Korea) – 35 points
  • Capucine Viglione (France) – 34 points
  • Beatrice Colli (Italy) – 30 points
  • Leslie Romero Peréz (Spain) – 29 points

Male Speed

  • Veddriq Leonardo (Indonesia) – 50 points
  • Wu Peng (China) – 45 points
  • Yaroslav Tkach (Ukraine) – 38 points
  • Reza Alipor Shenazandifard (Iran) – 35 points
  • Zach Hammer (USA) – 34 points
  • Amir Maimuratov (Kazakhstan) – 30 points
  • Shin Euncheol (South Korea) – 29 points

Female Boulder&Lead

  • Brooke Raboutou (USA) – 50 points
  • Seo Chaehyun (South Korea) – 45 points
  • Erin McNeice (Great Britain) – 41 points
  • Nonaka Miho (Japan) – 38 points
  • Jenya Kazbekova (Ukraine) – 35 points
  • Luo Zhilu (China) – 34 points
  • Zélia Avezou (France) – 33 points
  • Camilla Moroni (Italy) – 32 points
  • Lucia Dörffel (Germany) – 31 points
  • Kim Jain (South Korea) – 30 points
  • Mia Krampl (Slovenia) – 29 points
  • Molly Thompson-Smith (Great Britain) – 28 points

Male Boulder&Lead

  • Lee Dohyun (South Korea) – 50 points
  • Alberto Ginés López (Spain) – 45 points
  • Adam Ondra (Czechia) – 41 points
  • Paul Jenft (France) – 38 points
  • Sascha Lehmann (Switzerland) – 36 points
  • Hannes Van Duysen (Belgium) – 35 points
  • Hamish McArthur (Great Britain) – 34 points
  • Sam Avezou (France) – 33 points ⭐
  • Yannick Flohé (Germany) – 32 points
  • Nicolas Collin (Belgium) – 30 points
  • Alexander Megos (Germany) – 29 points
  • Pan Yufei (China) – 28 points

Inter-country competition for Olympic tickets

The two-athlete limit means that there is some inter-country competition for Olympic tickets.

In Male Speed, Indonesia, China, France, the USA, Italy, New Zealand, and South Africa have qualified one athlete. In female Speed, Indonesia, China, Poland, New Zealand and South Africa have qualified one athlete.

The competition for single Chinese and Indonesian tickets across both sexes is strong, with Zhou Yafei and Wu Peng leading the way for China and Veddriq Leonardo and Rajiah Sallsabillah for Indonesia. The other close competition for a final ticket is between the Kalucka sisters, Natalia and Aleksandra, from Poland.

In Female Boulder&Lead, Slovenia, USA, France, China, Japan, Austria, Australia, and South Africa have all qualified one athlete. In Male Boulder&Lead, Austria, Great Britain, Australia, and South Africa all have qualified one athlete.

Ito Futaba and Nonaka Miho first bumping after Nonaka's lead performance
Nonaka Miho and Ito Futaba still celebrate and cheer each other on despite the competition for an Olympic ticket © Nakajima Kazushige / IFSC

The biggest competition for the final place in female Boulder&Lead is between Ito Futaba and Nonaka Miho for the final Japanese spot. Nonaka finished ahead of Ito in Shanghai by 11.2 points to win a 2-point gap over Ito in the Series. Brooke Raboutou leads the way with her win in Shanghai for the final USA slot. The next USA athlete is Annie Sanders in 14th. The competition for the final French ticket is closer. Zélia Avezou put herself in a strong position in Shanghai, finishing 8th. The next closest French athlete is Manon Hily in 15th, a 7-point difference in the Series. Mia Krampl is the highest of the female Slovenian athletes, finishing 12th in Shanghai ahead of Lucija Tarkus in 18th.

The biggest intercountry competition in the male event is between the top 3 French athletes, Paul Jenft, Sam Avezou and Mejdi Schalck. Paul Jenft and Sam Avezou both reached the final in Shanghai, finishing 4th and 8th, respectively. A poor Boulder round for Mejdi Schalck meant he ended up in 10th. Hamish McArthur leads the way for the final Great Britain slot after finishing 6th in Shanghai.

Who else should I watch out for?

Anže Perharc and Luka Potocar from Slovenia are both just outside the tickets, followed by Nicolai Uznik, Filip Schenk and Stefano Ghisolfi. Stefan Scherz would need to beat Uznik to win the final Austrian ticket. The next five outside of the tickets are Hannes Puman, Jongwon Chon, Nikolay Rusev, Edvards Gruzitis, and Nimrod Marcus.

Franziska Sterrer
Franziska Sterrer is one place outside of the Olympic ticket spots. She finished on the podium at Austrian Lead nationals last week © Nakajima Kazushige / IFSC

Franziska Sterrer is only one place outside of the tickets, followed by Laura Rogora, Michaela Smetanova, Staşa Gejo, Chloe Caulier, Hannah Meul, Maya Stasiuk, Petra Klinger, Elnaz Rekabi, Martina Buršíková round out the top 10 places just outside the tickets.

Svana Bjarnason has a chance to win an Olympic ticket through the Universality pathway. She needs to finish higher than 36th to win the ticket. 36th place in Shanghai was Ayala Kerem, who scored 63.2 points, 41.2 points more than Bjarnason. Moreover, Bjarnason needs to finish higher as she needs to win more points to finish in the top 36 in the Series. Kerem currently has 5 points in her Series, 4 ahead of Bjarnason.

Postcard from Budapest

Budapest has the second oldest metro system in the world after London. The Millennium Underground Railway (M1 line) opened back in 1896. There are now 4 lines with 48 stations in Budapest. The M1 line runs northeast through the city, connecting the central park to the Opera and Hero Square.

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