Shauna Coxsey is chasing an Olympics selection. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Shauna Coxsey is chasing an Olympics selection. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Olympic hopeful Shauna Coxsey has gained a bronze medal in the sport climbing world championships, the first podium finish for a British climber in the event.

The Sheffield-based athlete came third in the bouldering discipline, behind Akiyo Noguchi of Japan and Janja Garnbret of Slovenia who took her second world championship title in as many years.

Coxsey managed to secure third place despite suffering from a cold. She missed the last two International Federation of Sport Climbing world championships because of injury, and finished fourth in Munich in 2014.

Climbers hoping to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics at the world championships must compete in individual boulder, lead and speed events followed by a full combined competition where she would need to finish in the top seven to book her ticket for the games.

There is no time to rest for the 26-year-old who is back in action again on Wednesday with the lead qualification rounds and will be joined by compatriots Molly Thompson-Smith, Will Bosi, Jo Neame and Billy Ridal.

In the championships’ bouldering event in Hachioji, Japan, Coxsey faced an anxious wait in the semi-finals to confirm whether she had even secured a spot in the finals.

She topped the first of four boulder ‘problems’, which need to be completed within four minutes in a final, to put her in the medal positions early on in the competition.

However, she slid down the rankings as she struggled to complete the complex moves of the second and third problems, meaning that the podium places would not be decided until the final problem.

Coxsey topped it with her first attempt – known in the sport as a flash– and placed the pressure on other climbers to match her score which ultimately secured her the bronze medal position.

Bouldering is Shauna Coxsey’s strongest of the three climbing disciplines that will feature at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, winning the 2016 and 2017 overall IFSC bouldering titles.

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