Eighteen-year-old Toby Roberts from Elstead has made history by becoming the first British male climber to win a place in the Olympics.

The European qualification event took place in Laval, France, where Roberts earned 169.8 points across the boulder and lead phases to take first place.

Speaking to the Herald, Toby said the experience had been “incredible” and had not quite sunk in yet.

He added: “Climbing is such a new sport; it’s so new in the Olympics, and no-one knows what will happen. I’m so excited to get out to Paris and give it a good go.”

Toby has been climbing since he was eight years old after joining a club at Edgeborough School in Frensham with his science teacher Ivo Wreck.

The stakes were high in the qualifier, as only the winner would go to the 2024 Paris Games.

Toby was up against the strongest climbers in Europe, including Alberto Ginés López from Spain, the gold medallist at Tokyo in 2020.

He said: “Being the last qualifying opportunity of the year, it was high pressure. But I was able to go in and enjoy the climbing as I find that my best results come when I’m not thinking about the scores or anything.

“In the months building up to Laval we switched my training around, and I found a really good mindset and just went in there with a clear head.”

Toby’s training regime is not for the faint-hearted. The highest intensity period of his training is during winter when there are no competitions, and he does six days a week for eight or nine hours.

He is the second British climber to earn an Olympic place after Shauna Coxsey became the first at the Tokyo Games. He remembers watching her and feeling like he wanted to be there next time.

Toby said: “She had quite a lot of injuries, and to see her come back and be in such good form for Tokyo was inspiring. I’ve had a conversation with Shauna, and she’s really nice and supportive, and she’s psyched about me making it to the Olympics.”

The attention of Toby is now turning to training for the games next year.

Toby, who also has his sights set on the Los Angeles Olympics in 2028, said: “My parents have supported me since day one and I’m so grateful for everything they’ve done for me.”

Toby is encouraging the younger generation to give climbing a go, and hopes that the sport will continue to grow.

He added: “I love climbing and want to show that to as many people as possible.”