Japanese medal contender Miho Nonaka is regrouping before the women's final after a tough bouldering round during climbing qualifiers on Wednesday in the sport's Olympic debut.
Nonaka came out strong in the intial speed round, a vertical sprint up a 15 metre wall, ranking fourth with a time of 7.55 seconds. The athlete has made strides in the specialised event and was one of only six women to post sub-eight second runs.
However the Tokyo native struggled in her strongest event, bouldering, amid humid conditions on a sticky summer evening.
"It was the toughest round I've faced in recent competitions," said the 24-year-old. "It was hard to refocus mentally."
In bouldering, athletes attack a series of obstacles along a low wall. Nonaka solved just one of four problems and came eighth.
"It was hot and I slipped and I got tired after repeated tries," said Nonaka, who has grappled with injury and had ice packs strapped to her knee and arm.
Following the bouldering setback, Nonaka put in a top-three performance in lead, a roped climb up a vertiginous wall, to secure her place in Friday's final.
"I feel I have grown mentally getting through bouldering and into the final so, while there are things to fix, I think it's okay to feel happy about it," said Nonaka.