Sport climbing will make its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020 tomorrow ©Getty Images

Sport climbing will make its historic first appearance at the Olympic Games tomorrow when four days of vertical competition begins at Aomi Urban Sports Park.

Climbing was one of five additional sports added to the Tokyo 2020 programme in 2016, along with baseball/softball, karate, skateboarding and surfing.

Twenty male and 20 female climbers are set to compete here, in the combined event which crowns a champion based on performance across the disciplines of bouldering, lead and speed.

Most climbers have an event in which they are strongest but they will need to perform well in the other two as well to challenge for an Olympic medal.

Climbers to look out for in the men's event include world combined champion Tomoa Narasaki, who is a big home hope for Japan.

Austrian Jakob Schubert and Kazakhstan's Rishat Khaibullin, the respective silver and bronze medallists when the World Championships were last held in 2019, should also not be counted out along with Adam Ondra of the Czech Republic and Japan's Kai Harada.

In the women's event, Janja Garnbret of Slovenia enters as the reigning combined world champion.

Miho Nonaka and Akiyo Noguchi will carry home Japanese hopes, while Slovenia's Mia Krampl finished second at the World Championships behind her compatriot.

Japan's Tomoa Narasaki is the reigning men's combined world champion ©Getty Images
Japan's Tomoa Narasaki is the reigning men's combined world champion ©Getty Images

Britain's Shauna Coxsey is strong in the lead and bouldering disciplines and will also hope to challenge for the podium.

International Federation of Sport Climbing President Marco Scolaris hosted a conference call with representatives from 50 National Federations on the eve of the Olympic competition, while standing at the foot of the Tokyo wall.

"This is the time to take a deep breath, look up, and climb," Scolaris said. 

"Join us in spirit, make the athletes feel your cheer, let us share the passion. 

"May our community, our people, join together and pack the Aomi Urban Park, on the screens, in the air."

Qualification in the men's event will be the first Olympic climbing competition tomorrow, followed by the women's qualifiers on Wednesday (August 4).

The men's final will be held on Thursday (August 5) before the women's final the following day.

"Sport climbing will be the only sport at the Games to benefit from innovative virtual 3D graphics that will take the sport to a whole new level," said Scolaris.

"To help audiences understand the challenges faced by the athletes and get insight into how they solve problems, computer-generated graphics will enrich the coverage of sport climbing."

Sport climbing has retained its place for the Paris 2024 Olympics.