OQS: McArthur, McNeice and Thompson-Smith go through to Semi-Finals

Posted by Team BMC on 21/06/2024
Photo: Lena Drapella | IFSC

Round Two of the Olympic Qualifying Series (OQS) kicked off in Budapest, marking the athletes' final opportunity to secure a spot for Paris 2024. As the heat was turned up on and off the wall the top 20 men’s and women’s Boulder & Lead semi-finalists have been confirmed.


On Thursday, GB Climbing's Hamish McArthur maintained his strong form, finishing the Boulder qualification round in 7th with a score of 59.5, matching his overall position from the first round in Shanghai last month. The round saw McArthur achieve two tops across a difficult set of problems. This consistent performance keeps him firmly in contention on the leaderboard.

Despite not achieving his desired results in Shanghai, Max Milne bounced back in the Boulder heat in Budapest to finish 9th with a score just 4.7 points shy of McArthur. The 23-year-old made a solid start to the competition after flashing boulder 1.

In the women’s competition, Erin McNeice and Molly Thompson-Smith finished 16th and 18th. Both athletes managed tops on boulder 2 and flashes on boulder 4, with McNeice taking one less attempt on boulder 2. Thompson-Smith, whose preferred discipline is Lead, will likely look forward to the Lead qualification round to showcase her strengths.

Jack MacDougall placed 18th alongside Thompson-Smith, while Jim Pope ended the round in 37th position. Commenting on the Shanghai round of the OQS, Jack MacDougall said: “Before OQS I sat down with my coach and decided to go high risk high reward for the boulder round, [in Shanghai] I had a solid round in boulder followed by a decent effort but score in the lead”.


With each round, Paris 2024 qualification inches closer, and in the women’s competition, Great Britain’s Erin McNeice put in a near-perfect performance in Lead on Friday, adding 96.1 points to her score and pulling herself into 8th place. Following close behind was teammate Molly Thompson-Smith in 10th, adding 88.1 points to her tally.

Talking to the IFSC about the pressure of trying to claim Olympic qualification, Molly Thompson-Smith said: “The amount of hours I’ve wasted looking at the scoresheet from Shanghai and doing all sorts of imaginary and arbitrary maths in my head. I got to the point where I was like, you just can’t predict it. Anything can happen, which is super exciting as a spectator, but as an athlete whose life is centred around routine and control, you just have to let go of all of that and just go climbing.

“Because the climbing does the talking and translates into the scores. I know if I climb my best I have a really good shot, and that in itself is both exciting and incredibly daunting.”

Hamish McArthur retained his 8th place position with a Lead score of 54.1, culminating in a total of 113.6 points at the end of the qualifying round.

Unfortunately, Max Milne narrowly missed the cut for the semi-finals, finishing his competition in 22nd place with 87.9 points. Jack MacDougall ended in 32nd place, while Jim Pope rounded out the team’s efforts in 42nd place.

The climbers will compete again tomorrow in the Boulder & Lead semi-final round, starting at 9 am UK time. Fans can watch the action live on olympics.com.

You can watch the Olympic Qualifier Series (OQS) in Budapest from 20 to 23 May live on Olympic Channel via Olympics.com and the official Olympics app for mobile devices.


OQS 2024 Budapest - Sport climbing schedule

All times local Central European Time (GMT +1 hours). Start times of events are provisional and subject to change.

Saturday 22 June

10:00 - Men's Boulder & Lead - Semi-final, Boulder

10:00 - Women's Boulder & Lead - Semi-final, Boulder

14:00 - Men's Boulder & Lead - Semi-final, Lead

14:00 - Women's Boulder & Lead - Semi-final, Lead


Sunday 23 June

10:00 - Women's Boulder & Lead - Final, Boulder

12:05 - Women's Boulder & Lead - Final, Lead

15:30 - Men's Boulder & Lead - Final, Boulder

17:35 - Men's Boulder & Lead - Final, Lead


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