By TONY LOURENS
It doesn’t matter what one thinks of climbing being part of the Olympic Games, or the format, which lumped all three disciplines (speed climbing, bouldering and lead climbing) in one pot, or indeed the scoring system, which was confounding at the best of times. The fact is, it happened. And South Africa was very proud to be able to send two young up and coming rock stars, Erin Sterkenburg and Christopher Cosser, to represent the Rainbow Nation – the only African country to qualify and one of only 19 nations worldwide.
Of course, going head to head with some of the biggest names on the world competition climbing arena, like Adam Ondra, Jacob Schubert, Sean McColl in the men’s, and Janja Garnbret, Laura Rogora and Brooke Raboutou in the women’s, was an intimidating prospect to say the least, and clearly we were never going to come home with gold.
But, it must be said that given the enormity of the occasion, our athletes performed admirably, keeping all of us back home glued to our TV screens and shouting encouragement. And most importantly, they both came home with invaluable competition experience. Experience gained by climbing alongside the world greats on the most prestigious competition platform on the planet.
So, a big congratulations to Chris and Erin.
Born: 12 December 2000 (age 20 years)
Chris won the combined event at the 2020 African Climbing Championships to qualify him for the 2020 Summer Olympics.
Sponsors: CityROCK, La Sportiva, The North Face,
Culture Lab Kombucha
Born: 20 March 2003 (age 18)
In the 2020 African Championships, she won the combined event and qualified for the 2020 Summer Olympics.
Sponsors: Black Diamond, Scarpa, ClimbOn
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