Coronavirus pandemic: A look at qualifying events for Tokyo Olympics 2020 in limbo due to COVID-19 threat

Here we look at the status of many qualifying events for Tokyo Olympics 2020, which have been either postponed or cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic

The Associated Press March 15, 2020 09:44:45 IST
Coronavirus pandemic: A look at qualifying events for Tokyo Olympics 2020 in limbo due to COVID-19 threat

As the IOC attempts to keep the 2020 Olympics on schedule, many of the events that determine who would compete in Tokyo have been postponed or cancelled.

Here is the status of qualifying in many of the Olympic disciplines:


Countries use a variety of methods, including trials, world rankings, and appointment based on results.

Coronavirus pandemic A look at qualifying events for Tokyo Olympics 2020 in limbo due to COVID19 threat

Snow falls on the Olympic rings near the New National Stadium in Tokyo, Saturday, 14 March 2020. AP


Four countries — Israel, Mexico, South Korea and host Japan — are in the six-team field. The final two spots are to be determined by tournaments that were postponed: An Americas qualifier in Arizona has been indefinitely postponed, and a last-chance qualifying tournament in Taiwan slated for April is now scheduled for 17-21 June.


Men: Eight teams have already qualified. The remaining spots in the 12-nation field will be determined in four winner-take-all, six-team tournaments scheduled from 23-28 June in Serbia, Canada, Croatia and Lithuania.

Women: The 12-team field was filled in February with four tournaments. Although defending world champion the United States and the host Japanese were already guaranteed spots, both finished in position to qualify anyway.

3x3: FIBA has postponed the qualifying tournament scheduled for 18-22 March in India. A second qualifying tournament scheduled for April in Hungary is in limbo. Four women’s teams and four men’s teams have already qualified for the eight-country fields.

Beach Volleyball 

Most Olympic spots are earned over a two-year points race on the international tour. At least three of the final 10 events have been cancelled or postponed, and the final event is scheduled for Rome on 9-14 June.


Two of the four regional Olympic qualification tournaments have already taken place, and the third for European fighters began Saturday in London. The Americas qualifier scheduled for 26 March in Buenos Aires has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak, and organizers haven’t set a plan for the final steps in qualification, including the last-chance World Olympic Qualifying Tournament scheduled for 13 May in Paris.


The selection criteria are different for each discipline: BMX freestyle and racing, mountain biking, track cycling, and the road race and time trials. Each discipline has a series of automatic qualification standards. The world championships 30-31 May in Houston are crucial for BMX, and at this point is still scheduled. The last Olympic qualification event in freestyle BMX, the World Series in Hiroshima 3-5 April, has been postponed. Final rosters for each discipline are announced in June.


Dozens of divers have already qualified based on their performances at last summer's world championships or other major meets over the last eight months. The last big qualifier is the Diving World Cup, set for the new Olympic aquatics venue in Tokyo on 21-26 April; FINA is still considering whether to proceed.


All of the equestrian qualifying events have been completed in every discipline. None of the events was affected by the virus.


Qualification was to be based on rankings set to be released on 4 April, with some additional slots to be determined in zonal events from 15-26 April. But the International Fencing Federation suspended all international competitions for 30 days, delaying five major competitions that must be completed before zonal qualifying. The FIE is requesting an extension of the qualification period.

Field Hockey

Tournaments to fill the 12-team men's and women's fields were completed in 2019. Ten countries qualified for both: Australia, Argentina, Germany, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, the Netherlands and Britain.


Sixty golfers are determined by the world rankings, two per country with a maximum of four if they are among the top 15. The PGA Tour and European Tour, which offer the most ranking points, have cancelled or postponed all events at least through 12 April.


The team fields for both men’s and women’s gymnastics were set at last year's world championships. The remaining individual all-around and single apparatus spots are determined at World Cup events. The International Gymnastics Federation has cancelled an all-around World Cup event in Germany and postponed an apparatus World Cup event in Qatar from March until early June.


The International Handball Federation has postponed the final qualifying tournaments until June. The host nations were Spain, Hungary and Montenegro for the women and Norway, France and Germany for the men. Six of 12 spots remain open for each field.


The International Judo Federation has cancelled all Olympic qualifiers through 30 April, including a Grand Slam and two Grand Prix. Another Grand Prix last weekend, in Morocco, was cancelled earlier. Qualifying ends on 25 May.


World Rowing has cancelled a European Olympic qualifying regatta that was scheduled for 27-29 April in Varese, Italy, and relocation is being considered. US Rowing said Olympic trials in Sarasota, Florida, from 16-21 March and 13-18 April have been postponed and the organization will not hold a national team event for at least 30 days.


Many spots in the 10 classes have been clinched. An Asian Olympic qualifier in Abu Dhabi has been postponed until mid-April, and a World Cup Series regatta in Genoa, Italy, that would have been a qualifier for African, Asian and European countries, has been cancelled. The IOC has granted World Sailing an extension of the qualification period to 30 June.


Men: Fourteen of 16 teams have already qualified. The tournament to produce the two teams from the North and Central American and Caribbean region was scheduled for 20 March to 1 April in Guadalajara, Mexico, but was indefinitely postponed.

Women: Ten of 12 teams have already qualified, including the reigning World Cup champion United States. China and South Korea were scheduled to play in a two-legged playoff that has been pushed back to early June. Cameroon is set to play Chile in a two-legged playoff in early April but no announcement on those matches has been made.


The field for the six-nation competition was set in four qualifying tournaments in 2018 and 2019.


Most Olympic berths will be determined at national trials. The US meet is scheduled for Omaha, Nebraska, on 21-28 June; Australia's is scheduled for 14-19 June in Adelaide; Japan's national championship is in Tokyo on 1-8 April. The final two events on the TYR Pro Swim Series, a big part of pre-Olympic training, are scheduled for 16-19 April in Mission Viejo, California, and 6-9 May in Indianapolis.

Table Tennis

Qualifying elsewhere was still in progress and scheduled to continue through May. But the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) suspended all activities until the end of April and recommended that continental associations follow that decision. An emergency meeting of the ITTF executive committee is scheduled for Monday.


The International Tennis Federation (ITF) says Olympic eligibility still will be based on the WTA and ATP rankings of 8 June, even though more than a month of the tours' schedules in March and April have been scrapped. Requirements related to minimum participation in Fed Cup or Davis Cup remain in place — as does an appeal process for players who do not meet those standards.


The qualification was completed in January with the 12 teams for both the men’s and women’s competitions already set.

Water Polo

Men's and women's qualification tournaments scheduled for this month have been postponed until May. At stake are the final three spots for the 12-team men's field and the last two openings in the 10-team women's competition.


Spots are decided by the world ranking. The continental championships next month were meant to be the last gold-level events offering extra qualifying points. However, the European, Asian and African championships have all been postponed along with another gold-level event, junior worlds.

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