• AFP-JIJI

  • SHARE

Athletes who had already qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics before they were postponed will keep their places when the showpiece takes place in 2021, sources told AFP on Thursday.

Around 57 percent of the 11,000 scheduled participants for the Tokyo Games had already made sure of taking part when the International Olympic Committee pushed the games back to 2021 due to the coronavirus on Tuesday.

The IOC and 32 international sports federations held a teleconference on Thursday where it was decided to respect the qualification process.

“(IOC President Thomas Bach first explained the reasons for the postponement of the games, then said that the athletes qualified for Tokyo 2020 would automatically be qualified for 2021,” one of the participants in the conference told AFP.

“One of the main subjects was to know when and how to organize the qualifications.

“In some federations, many sportsmen and sportswomen are not qualified and it takes at least three months for the Olympic Games to organize them.”

The 2020 Tokyo Games were scheduled for July 24 to August 9, but after telephone discussions between Bach and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a historic joint decision was taken for the first postponement of an Olympics in peacetime

However, there is no definite date yet for the rescheduled 2020 Games, with Bach saying Tuesday the Tokyo Olympics “must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.”

Many Olympic sports, such as boxing, saw the vast majority of their qualifying tournaments either interrupted or canceled due to the global health pandemic.

Others, such as sailing however, already had 90 percent of their competitors qualified.

“The allocated quotas remain allocated,” confirmed another participant in Thursday’s meeting.

“Thomas Bach has confirmed that a decision (on a new date for the 2021 event) will be made within the next four weeks,” he said.

“Some said they prefer May 2021, others June.”

Some federation chiefs also expressed financial concerns, claiming in advance part of the sums traditionally allocated after the Olympic Games by the IOC to the governing bodies.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

PHOTO GALLERY (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

Your news needs your support

Since the early stages of the COVID-19 crisis, The Japan Times has been providing free access to crucial news on the impact of the novel coronavirus as well as practical information about how to cope with the pandemic. Please consider subscribing today so we can continue offering you up-to-date, in-depth news about Japan.