Preparing for the Tokyo Olympics can make you climb the walls.
For Akiyo Noguchi, it’s been well worth it. The 29-year-old professional rock climber won the IFSC Climbing Worldcup in the discipline of bouldering on Sunday, June 3, 2018 in front of a energetic crowd at Esforta Arena in Hachioji, Tokyo.
Competing for well over a decade, Noguchi has a chance to compete in sports climbing at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, a sport that was officially selected only two years ago in 2016.
Bouldering consists of climbs up a series of four walls, each with different designs of shapes that offer the slightest of hand and foot holds. The competitors are kept in an isolation room without access to their smartphones, and brought out to examine the designs of the walls for a couple of minutes before they are shuttled back into the isolation room.
Then they are brought out in groups (as in the qualification rounds) or individually (as in the finals), and have 4 minutes to climb a wall, and touch a specified target hold at the top of the wall. Watching the video will make this easier to understand.
When sports climbing debuts, it will be a combined event, with men and women competing in three events – lead climbing, speed climbing and bouldering – the scores of each event tallied together to produce the winners.
Sports climbing is becoming hugely popular in Japan – neighborhood businesses with climbing walls are sprouting up all over Japan. In fact, Esforta was filled with kids for the IFSC Climbing Worldcup cheering on some of the best bouldering talent in the world from Japan.
Sports Climbing at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics may be a ton of fun.