Day 3: 2023 European Boulder & Lead Climbing Olympic Qualifier

Posted by Katy Shilladay on 28/10/2023
Image: Jan Virt / IFSC

Toby Roberts dominated the semi-final round, winning both Boulder and Lead competitions and sailing into Sunday’s Final. Teammates, Jack MacDougall and Eric McNeice bowed out of the competition, finishing in 17th and 18th.


The GB athletes have been finding their rhythm within this competition, and it was evident with Erin McNeice on the W4 problem. After establishing herself on the problem, her quick learning allowed her to get back onto the wall with just 40 seconds remaining failed to reach the 10. McNeice improved on her qualifying position by two, finished the round in 16th on 13.3 points.

GB Climbing’s Jack MacDougall has been holding his own in the competition so far, going from strength to strength. Jack often performs well on slab, having had some big results in competitions and training this year. The M4 route played to these strengths, evident in his comfortable ascent, but he couldn't quite figure out the beta to successfully top out. Jack finished the Boulder competition in 17th place with 34.1 points.

Toby cruised M1, flashing the problem in under 30 seconds scoring the full 25 points. M3 showed Toby at ease, flowing through the problem but just missing the top hold. Toby matched the top hold on attempt 3 with 2 minutes left on the clock. Roberts remained composed going into M4 finishing the Boulder competition in 1st place with 84.7 points.


Heading into the Lead round of the semi-final all athletes remained in reaching distance of the combined final.

Current British Lead Champion, Erin, was the first GB Climbing athlete to step onto the wall. She cruised up to the scoring zone, through the yellow and into the blue. Erin looked for a knee bar at the crux but couldn't find one to secure her position, like many other competitors. McNeice scored 28 points, bringing her to 41.3 points in the semi-final round and 18th position. Oriane Bertone of France went through to the final in first.

Jack showed a great fight in the men’s Lead competition, but with the route setting leaving little room for error he came off the wall with a score of 28 points, finishing 15th and holding onto his 17th position overall.

Toby, following his stellar Boulder performance, maintained his composure heading into the Lead round. A backward toe hook and drop knee manoeuvre propelled Toby to become the first male athlete to reach the 60-point mark. Although he narrowly missed the final hold, Roberts finished the Lead round with a combined score of 180 points, securing a 52.1-point lead over Czechia’s Adam Ondra in 2nd position. The top eight athletes would qualify for the finals.

Tom Greenall, Head Coach for GB Climbing, run by the BMC, said “We’ve enjoyed a great competition so far with many positive learnings and experiences gained. For both Jack and Erin, this opportunity has been invaluable ahead of the OQS and as some of our younger team members, showed huge maturity.

“For Toby, he’s showing everyone that he’s in incredible shape and is determined and hungry. While today was exciting its business as usual for us tomorrow with the final round to go. We’re focussed and enjoying the event”

Olympic qualifying series

While Erin and Jack's competition ends today, they will be joining other athletes from GB Climbing who are ready to participate in the Olympic Qualifying Series (OQS) in 2024. The top 48 athletes who have not already qualified for Paris 2024 will receive invitations from the IFSC based on their 2023 World Ranking Score. Each nation will be limited to a maximum of 4 entrants per gender.

The GB Climbing athletes eligible for entry into the OQS include:

  • Toby Roberts
  • Hamish McArthur
  • Max Milne
  • Jack MacDougall
  • Molly Thompson Smith
  • Erin McNeice

For a detailed event schedule, please click here. For results, please click here.

You can follow the event on GB Climbing's social channels.

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