Climber Mackenzie hanging out for Tokyo

Melissa Woods
Australian climber Oceana Mackenzie trains at home in Melbourne with Tokyo 2021 on her mind

Olympic climbing hopeful Oceana Mackenzie is thinking horizontally as well as vertically about how best to get to Tokyo in 2021.

With climbing gyms around Australia shut down, Victorian teenager Mackenzie has been out on the athletics track as part of her training.

Sport climbing will make its Olympic debut, with athletes competing over three disciplines - speed climbing, which is a race against another climber, bouldering; when competitors are scored as they scale a fixed route in a set time, and lead climbing; when they attempt to climb as high as possible in a set time.

Climbing is historically a slow, contemplative sport and most professional climbers specialise in lead and/or boulder, which complement.

Speed is more of a wildcard event, which is why Mackenzie sees it as an opportunity.

And that's why she's been using the lockdown to spend time work on her running under a program from the Victorian Institute of Sport.

With five sisters, Mackenzie has also been spending time on a purpose-built wall in her garage and doing "hang-boarding", when climbers hang from their fingertips from small climbing edges, using one hand or with extra weights.

"I do sprint training so I've been able to go down to my local field to do that," Mackenzie told AAP.

"Speed climbing is similar to sprinting because you are pretty much trying to sprint up a wall.

"I find doing sprint training helps with the fast-twitch muscles for that discipline and it's helped a lot with my training.

"Speed is definitely the outside discipline for most people ... but I liked it as soon as a I tried it."

Mackenzie said points from each discipline were calculated to work out the medallists, so to have an edge in speed could bump up a climber's points.

While not among the medal favourites just yet, Mackenzie's best result came last year when she finished sixth in a World Cup event in Switzerland.

With only one male and female Australian climber representing at Tokyo, her closest rival is another teenager, 15-year-old Angie Scarth-Johnson.

The Oceania championships, which was the selection trial, was due to be held in March but has been rescheduled to December.