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Team China at Tokyo 2020: Young climbers chase medals at new event



Among the four newly-added sports to the Olympics: Skateboarding, surfing, sport climbing and karate, sport climbing is the one that Chinese athletes have high hopes to clinch medals.

In August, 2016, the International Olympic Committee incorporated sport climbing to the Tokyo 2020 program, with only two gold medals on offer in total. Athletes have to perform well in all three disciplines combined – speed, bouldering, and lead climbing – to win a medal.

Pan Yufei and Song Yiling, two young climbers from Generation Z, will represent China, competing for the man's and women's sport climbing in Tokyo, respectively.

Twenty-one-year-old Pan advanced to his first World Cup Lead event final in 2017 in the city of Xiamen in southeast China's Fujian Province, where he claimed a bronze medal, distinguishing himself as a rising star.

In 2019, Pan won his second career World Cup Lead medal and first silver in Switzerland's Villars, being one of the three athletes to reach the top of the wall but was only edged out for the gold in terms of the semifinal score. 

Pan Yufei of China competes during the International Federation of Sports Climing (IFSC) World Cup in Munich, Germany, May 19, 2019. /CFP

Pan secured a Tokyo Olympics berth at the IFSC Combined Qualifier in Tournefeuille-Toulouse, France, in December the same year, finishing sixth in the men's finals.

Meanwhile, 20-year-old Song set the new world record of 7.101 sec at Women's Speed Climbing at the IFSC Climbing World Cup in Chongqing in April 2019.

She comfortably held on to the top spot in the women's rankings to clinch the women's overall speed title at the IFSC World Cup in Xiamen at the end of last year.

They will face severe challenges from 27-year-old Czech climber Adam Ondra for the men and Janja Garnbret of Slovenia for the women, who holds six world titles.

Japan's home favorite Tomoa Narasaki and UK's Shauna Coxsey are also competent competitors in the sport. 


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