Olympics-Climbing-Spain’s Gines Lopez tops males’s velocity occasion in Tokyo

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TOKYO, August 5 (Reuters) – Spaniard Alberto Gines Lopez took the lead early in the men’s climbing final in Tokyo on Thursday, putting himself in a strong position to win a medal in the sport’s Olympic debut.

In the first speed event, which includes three laps head-to-head races over a 15 meter high wall, Gines Lopez prevailed against the Japanese hope for a medal Tomoa Narasaki and took first position before the next two sections: bouldering and leading.

Bouldering, climbers use problem-solving skills to scale a series of obstacles along a low wall, while guiding tests athletes’ endurance and technique.

The combined number of points, a multiplication of the ranking lists across the three events, determines the overall result of the climbers.

The Frenchman Mickael Mawem, who took first place here after qualifying on Tuesday, was third in speed, followed by Adam Ondra from the Czech Republic.

Widely regarded as a favorite for gold, Ondra received a pass for the second speed lap following the retirement of Mickael’s brother Bassa Mawem, who injured himself in Tuesday’s qualifying and will finish eighth in the final.

US teenager Colin Duffy, who surprised many after finishing third in qualifying, had a false start in his first race but came back strong later, finishing fifth in speed.

His compatriot Nathaniel Coleman and the Austrian Jakob Schubert took sixth and seventh place.

The unusual combination format here pushed the athletes out of their comfort zone, with the ranking system offering a lot of potential for surprises.

While the combined format in Tokyo prefers all-rounders, climbing at the games in Paris 2024 will be divided into speed and a combined bouldering and lead event. (Reporting by Rozanna Latiff; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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