ArtLine at the Olympic Qualification Tournament
The European OQT took place in Laval, from 26 to 29 October 2023. and was brilliantly organised by the Escalade en Mayenne climbing club. It brought together the best climbers in Europe, with a single ticket to the Olympics at stake for each category, male and female.
A dominante Oriane Bertone
Considered the favourite in the competition, the French climber got her final off to an ideal start by flashing 3 of the 4 boulders and dropping just one attempt, on the Artline block.
“The bouldering went really well. It was amazing to score 99.9 points. I’m really happy to have managed to climb like I can, staying calm and smooth”
In the lead round, she started with a 15.4-point lead over Stasa Gejo. She got through the first section without issue, until she reached the hold that put her ahead in the overall rankings. Last to climb, she realised when she heard the roars from the crowd that she had won the competition. Artline hold in hand, she turned and egged the crowd on. The atmosphere was electric as they chanted her name. She fell after a few more moves but was still on cloud nine: she had booked her ticket to the Olympics!
Toby Roberts springs a surprise
On the men’s side, we were expecting more from Adam Ondra and Mejdi Schalk. However, the favourites didn’t excel in the bouldering round, after which Toby Robert lay in 2nd place, just behind Sam Avezou. In his specialist discipline, lead, the British climber went higher than everyone with disconcerting ease. His ellbows were raised, but he kept moving forward with confidence. And when he made the dyno onto the final jug, the whole audience went wild!