Sport climbing will be making its Olympic debut in Tokyo 2020, but the qualification process is not simple. There are a number of routes to the tournament.

There are 40 spots up for grabs – 20 men and 20 woman. Nations are only allowed a maximum of two men and two women each. Two spots are reserved for the host country – one for a Japanese male and one for a Japanese female.

Another two spots – again one for men, one for women – are given to climbers with exceptional circumstances, who will be picked in accordance with the Olympic charter’s principle of universality.

So, there are 18 spots up for grabs for each gender via qualifying tournaments. The first seven spots will be decided at the IFSC Combined World Championships, which run from August 11 to 21 in Hachioji, Japan.

The top seven men and woman in Hachioji will make it through unless there are more than two from the same nation in the top seven. If, for example, five of the top seven men are from the UK, only the top two Brits would go through.

That leaves 11 spots to be filled for men and women. The next six will be decided in Toulouse, France, from November 28 to December 1, 2019.

The remaining five spots will be given to the winners of the continental championships, taking place early next year. Climbers will only be allowed to compete in the championship where their country is located, so the best climbers in Europe and North America can't pick and choose which continent to compete in as a way to get through.

Hong Kong’s Olympic climbing hope sees balance as key

Hong Kong climbers will compete in the Asian championships in Morioka in Japan from May 18 to 24, 2020. The other four are the Pan-American championship (February 27 to March 1), Europe (April 16-18), Oceania (April 18-19) and Africa (May 1-3).