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Final Climbers Qualify for Olympic Games

Jongwon Chon and Chaehyun Seo will join the 38 previously-qualified athletes in the upcoming Olympic Games. Korea will now have representation in the event

Photo by: IFSC of Jongwon Chon

After nearly two years since the first International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) Olympic qualification event in Hachioji, the final two athletes will join the Sport Climbing Olympic roster. All Sport Climbing athletes have now qualified for the Olympic Games.

Chaehyun Seo sequences a route

On March 9, the IFSC announced the allocation of the two remaining quota positions. South Korea’s Jongwon Chon and Chaehyun Seo would join the 38 other qualified athletes after what became the longest qualification period of the pandemic.

Due to the cancellation of last year’s IFSC Asian Championships, the Koreans had to wait months for confirmation. The two climbers qualified as a result of the Sport Climbing Qualification System that required position allocation to athletes that competed at the IFSC Climbing World Championships in Hachioji.

The Athletes

These two were all but confirmed for their positions as every other athlete present at Hachioji had already qualified for the event or could not qualify due to quota restrictions. While they may not have earned their place by the most conventional route, Chon and Seo represent two of the World’s most qualified climbers. They will add significant competition to the field.

Chon has won five bouldering World Cups and has podiumed in five more. Notably, he began climbing in 2010, and competed in his first international youth competition two years later. In 2013, he placed second in the Asian Youth Championships. Today, the 25-year old climber is one of the strongest competitive boulderers in the world. He established Korea’s first V15, Eternal Sunshine.

Chon will join the similarly qualified Chaehyun Seo, who has a list of equally impressive accomplishments. Born into a family of climbers, Seo climbed Bad Girls Club, a 5.14d in Rifle, at the age of 14. In 2019, the then 15-year-old won her debut Lead World Cup Season ahead of Slovenia’s Janja Garnbret.

She would also win Lead and Bouldering in the 2019 Asian Championships, appearing limited only by a lack of experience in Speed.

The Olympic Games

While the two athletes entered the ranks of the qualified, an excited IFSC President, Marco Scolaris, took a moment for reflection. “Today we have concluded our Qualification process: we know the names of our first Olympians and it is a great moment in our history!”

Recently elected Korean Alpine Federation President Dr. Joong-ho Son thanked the IFSC and the IFSC Asian Council for their support through these last months. “We are delighted to have two of our climbers in the Olympic Games where Sport Climbing will make its historical debut.”

This news comes with Japan’s decision to not host foreign spectators at the event. The Olympic Games will take place from the 23 of July to 8 of August, 2021. Sport Climbing will make its debut on August 3 through August 6.

Lead photo: IFSC of Jongwon Chon