The Japan Karate Federation’s head of development said Thursday he will instruct the governing body to “redo” Olympic qualification for two kumite weight classes following a decision by the sport’s international governing body.
The World Karate Federation on Wednesday outlined a revised qualification system for next year’s Tokyo Olympics based on the federation’s rankings as of a new deadline of May 2021.
The new system — which aims to redress “missed opportunities” after the coronavirus crisis cut short the 2020 karate calendar — will require some karateka previously named as Olympians to requalify.
Masao Kagawa, who chairs the Japan federation’s development committee, said he will instruct the JKF to redo qualification for the men’s 67-kg and women’s 61-kg divisions.
When the decision is finalized, the JKF will be Japan’s first national federation to order requalification for athletes who had been named to the Olympic team before the coronavirus pandemic forced the Tokyo Games to be postponed by a year.
After the WKF’s Premier League qualifying events were canceled in March, Naoto Sago and Mayumi Someya were selected as Olympic representatives based on the rankings at that time.
The revised qualification system means, however, that Sago will face competition from Hiroto Shinohara in the men’s 67-kg division, while Someya faces a challenge from Ayumi Moriguchi in the women’s 61-kg contest.
As the host, Japan automatically gets berths in all eight weight classes at the Tokyo Games.