Olympics-Climbing-Coxsey renews love of climbing ahead of first, and last, Games

FILE PHOTO: May 21, 2021; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Shauna Coxsey (GBR) competes during a qualifying round of the IFSC Climbing World Cup Boulder climbing competition at Industry. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

TOKYO (Reuters) - Britain's Shauna Coxsey, who has grappled with a string of injuries, said that training for climbing's Olympic debut has renewed her love for the sport in what will be her final appearance as a competitive climber.

"The focus in my training has been on enjoyment over trying to balance everything with having limited time due to injury," said Coxsey, who is Britain's sole climbing entrant in Tokyo.

Coxsey, who has been training https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-olympics-climbing-coxsey-idUKKBN2C12P3 on a climbing wall in the basement of her home during the COVID-19 pandemic, has suffered a run of injuries in recent years and undergone multiple surgeries.

As with many competitors https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/sport-climbing-athletes-forced-out-comfort-zone-new-combined-event-2021-06-28 in the combined format at the Tokyo Games, the speed event, a vertical sprint up a 15-metre wall, will take the 28-year old Coxsey, who is a bouldering specialist, out of her comfort zone.

"Speed for me is something that is challenging with the injuries that I have for sure. And I would have liked to have been able to dedicate more time to it," said Coxsey, who had the Japanese and British flags painted on her fingernails.

The inclusion of the sport, which is growing in urban climbing gyms and as an outdoor activity, is seen as a breakthrough moment showcasing its top athletes for a global audience.

Coxsey has said she will retire from professional climbing after competing in the climbing event in Tokyo, which kicks off on Tuesday.

The combined format and scoring system, which multiplies athlete rankings from the speed, bouldering and lead events to find a overall winner, has created uncertainty over the outcome.

"I didn't have a goal written down of where I wanted to finish here, my goal was to just make sure I still love the sport and I do more than I ever have," said Coxsey.

"More than any medal I've won in my career, that's my biggest achievement."

(Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa)

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