Sport Climbing

Aries Susanti targets Tokyo qualification to wrap stellar 2019

The Indonesian climber broke the speed world record earlier this year, and could seal a Tokyo 2020 spot in Toulouse.

By ZK Goh ·

What would be the best way to end Aries Susanti Rahayu's year?

Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualification might be a pretty good guess.

The Indonesian sport climber, a speed specialist, became the first woman to go under seven seconds when she broke the speed world record in Xiamen, China, in October. And she was named one of Forbes Asia's 30 under 30.

But, having not taken part in July's IFSC Combined World Championships, the 24-year-old has yet to secure her ticket to the Japanese capital next year.

Therefore, Susanti's first chance to book her spot for sport climbing's debut at the Olympic Games will be at the IFSC Combined Qualifier (28 November–1 December) in the south of France, which you can watch on the Olympic Channel.

"Toulouse is calling me to come fight for Olympic tickets," the climber posted on Instagram.

"Please pray I am able to give my best for Indonesia."

She won't be alone in Toulouse: boyfriend Alfian Muhammad Fajri will represent Indonesia in the men's event.

The top six climbers in each gender will qualify for Tokyo 2020, provided their country hasn't already reached the maximum of two athletes per gender.

More honours?

In May, Susanti was the only Indonesian athlete named on Forbes Asia's 30 under 30 list, which included the likes of two-time Grand Slam tennis champion Naomi Osaka.

"I’m so happy I was selected. It was a surprise since there are many youngsters with a lot of achievements out there. Thank you to everyone," she said at the time.

Then, in October on the IFSC World Cup circuit in Xiamen, China, she sped up the 15m-high speed wall in 6.99 seconds, becoming the first female athlete to break the seven-second barrier.

These achievements came after a successful 2018 in which she shot to prominence in her home country by winning two Asian Games golds on home soil in Palembang.

However, the Yogyakarta-based athlete, who is a speed specialist, will have to work hard on her overall skill set to make a mark in the Combined discipline that will be contested both in Toulouse and next year in Tokyo.

With each athlete being awarded a score based on their finishing positions in each of sport climbing's three main disciplines – speed, bouldering, and lead – the Indonesian nicknamed "Spiderwoman" won't be able to rely solely on her quick hands and feet.

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She told Yogyakarta newspaper Radar Jogja: "Because we're competing in combined, I'm definitely training more actively in lead and bouldering too.

"I want to perform optimally; target what's in front of me first.

"Currently, I'm focusing on qualification; later, when it happens, focus on the Olympics, and so on, bit by bit."

Even if Susanti doesn't make it in Toulouse – she's ranked 14th out of the women competing – there will be one final chance at the Asian Championships in Japan next April.

But what a way to finish 2019 it would be if she didn't have to wait that long.


28 Nov - 1 Dec 2019

IFSC Combined Qualifier - Toulouse