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Spain’s Gines Lopez becomes first Olympic sport climbing champion

Spain’s Alberto Gines Lopez held off his rivals to become the first Olympic sport climbing champion on Thursday, winning the men’s combined event in Tokyo.

The 18-year-old beat American Nathaniel Coleman into second place, with Austrian Jakob Schubert taking the bronze at Aomi Urban Sports Park.

Gines Lopez finished with 28 points, edging out Coleman after completing more holds than his title rival in the closing lead event.

Schubert snatched third place from Japanese hope Tomoa Narasaki by reaching the top of the wall in the lead event, finishing with one point fewer than Narasaki, who ended up fourth overall.

Gines Lopez took control by winning the speed competition and sealed gold despite finishing last of the seven finalists in the bouldering, with a fourth-place effort in the lead enough for gold.

It was an impressive performance from Gines Lopez, who is usually a bouldering and lead specialist and had only qualified in sixth position.

The final field was cut to seven climbers when Frenchman Bassa Mawem pulled out injured after suffering an injury during qualifying.

The women’s combined final takes place on Friday.

There will be four gold medals, rather than two, on offer at the Paris 2024 Olympics, with the speed event becoming a separate discipline.

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