Johanna Farber: IFSC apologise for objectifying climber after close-up of bottom

The International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) has apologised for the "objectification" of Johanna Färber after broadcasters showed a close-up shot of her bottom during the World Championships in Moscow.

Färber was competing in the women’s bouldering semi-finals when a close-up of the chalk handprints on her bottom was aired by broadcasters. Commentator Matt Groom immediately apologised for the shot.

It is the second time Färber has been subjected to "inappropriate" television coverage. The first occurred at the IFSC World Cup in Innsbruck in June, when host broadcaster ORF was forced to apologise for zooming in on the 23-year-old. 

At the time, Färber described the incident as "disrespectful and upsetting", with the Austrian climber urging for an end to the sexualisation of women in sport.

On this occasion, the IFSC has issued an apology.

"The IFSC would like to deeply apologise to Johanna Färber, Austria Climbing, all the athletes, and the entire sport climbing community for the images that were broadcast today during the women’s boulder semi-final at the IFSC Climbing World Championships Moscow 2021," the statement said.

"The IFSC condemns the objectification of the human body and will take further action in order for it to stop, and to protect the athletes.

"After meeting with representatives of the Austrian team, IFSC President Marco Scolaris issued the following comment: 'How many times will things have to be done wrong, before we learn how to do them right?'"

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Despite the apology, former British climber and editor-in-chief of UK Climbing.com, Natalie Berry, told Sky News more work had to be done.

"For this disrespectful incident to happen once again to the same athlete is very disappointing, at a time when more eyes are on the sport than ever before and more women and girls are being introduced to climbing.

"While the intentions of the camera operators and editors may not be to sexualise an athlete and instead to focus on a visually interesting chalky handprint, in the context of the sexualisation of women in sport throughout history, it's quite simply inappropriate."

Sport climbing made its debut on the Olympic programme at Tokyo 2020 this summer and has enjoyed a surge of popularity.

The World Championships have been streamed on YouTube to thousands of viewers, although the inappropriate footage of Färber has now been edited out. She failed to qualify for the bouldering final, placing 19th overall.