Climbing to the top | Oceana Mackenzie booked for Paris

Climber Oceana Mackenzie has qualified for her second Olympic Games after winning the boulder and lead at the Oceania selection trials in Melbourne over the weekend.

The 21 year-old Victorian Institute of Sport scholarship holder was Australia’s first female Olympic climber when the sport made its entrance in Tokyo, and she proved untouchable in the weekend competition.

The medal events have doubled since the Tokyo Olympics, with the boulder and lead tandem, which is Mackenzie’s speciality, separated from the speed format. While speed climbing is a race against another climber, bouldering scores competitors scaling a fixed route in a set time, and lead climbing has them climbing as high as possible in a set time.

Mackenzie, who is a regular on the World Cup stage, showed her class in the top-eight final of the boulder and lead with a near-perfect score of 199.9 points out of the possible 200 on offer. The climber finished well clear of two other Australians, Maya Stasiuk (155.7) and Emily Scott (129.1), to secure an Olympic berth.

The Melbourne climber said she was excited to compete in front of a crowd in Paris after being part of the COVID-19-impacted Games in Tokyo. Mackenzie used a climbing wall in her garage and land-based sprint training at the local field during lockdowns in the lead up to the Tokyo Games.

“I’m super excited to go to Paris,” Mackenzie said upon booking her ticket to France.

“There’s two things I am looking forward to at the Games - watching other sports is one because we didn’t get the chance to do that at the last Olympics, and secondly preparing properly. Because of the lockdowns my preparations last time around were not very enjoyable and not what I had wanted, and a crowd as well is definitely going to bring up the vibes.”

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