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'Cannot believe it': Kiwi pair become first ever climbers to qualify for Olympics

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 27 Nov 2023, 1:24PM
Sarah Tetzlaff and Julian David have made history in their qualification for the Paris Games.
Sarah Tetzlaff and Julian David have made history in their qualification for the Paris Games.

'Cannot believe it': Kiwi pair become first ever climbers to qualify for Olympics

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 27 Nov 2023, 1:24PM

Julian David and Sarah Tetzlaff have become the first New Zealand climbers to ever qualify for an Olympic Games, following wins at the Oceania qualifier in Melbourne on Sunday night.

Competing in the speed climbing discipline, Junior World Champion 18-year-old Julian David from Tauranga breezed through the opening rounds to make the men’s final.

Up against Australian Hayden Barton in the gold medal race David was clinical, finishing in 6.77s to Barton’s 7.5s.

“I cannot believe it. I’ve dreamed of all sorts of outcomes. I’ve woken up at night thinking oh man what if this happens’ and it has actually happened so it’s absolutely surreal,” said David.

“I have a bit of an off season now for a month and then I will hit 2024 in full training and see what I can come out with at the end.”

Tetzlaff then won a close final against Australia’s Grace Crowley to claim her gold medal. The also Tauranga-based climber scaling the wall in 8.54s to Crowley’s 8.88s.

“The final was incredibly close, and I didn’t think I had it to be honest,” said Tetzlaff.

“Anything can happen in Speed is the classic saying, that’s what my coach always says, so you just have to treat every run as an individual run that you do in training. Forget about the last one, forget about the next one and just go hard.”

Speed climbing is a form of sport climbing where athletes compete for the fastest time to the top of the climbing wall. The competition takes place on a standardised 15m high climbing wall, and the same holds and route are used each time for consistency across competition.

Climbing NZ High Performance Director Rob Moore says he’s absolutely thrilled his team claimed the two Olympic qualification spots available at the competition.

“We’ve been training really hard and it’s just amazing that we’ve won both of these spots,” said Moore.

“I’m incredibly proud of these athletes and our whole climbing team. Sarah and Julian performed incredibly and have created history.

“It’s important to note there is still work ahead of us. These two athletes will need to meet the New Zealand Olympic Committee’s top 16 selection policy before being selected for the Paris Olympics. So, there is more work to do but we’re excited and looking forward to more competition.”

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