Picture : FIBA qualification process
So far, about 57% of the total expected number of athletes have already qualified for the Olympics of Tokyo 2020. Others are now facing the interruption of the selection process, such as boxers who saw most of the qualification tournaments being cancelled. The IOC announced that those who already qualified for 2020 would attend the 2021 edition of the Games. As for the other sports, given quotas will remain and suspended qualifying heat will simply be rescheduled when the sanitary crisis gets better. While some voices have said that this will give athletes extra time to train for the competition, other like the renowned American gymnast Simone Biles have expressed concern about the mental and physical Olympic training being turned into an unexpected marathon.
The guiding principle for the organizers is to retain the status quo as much as possible. This will however certainly lead to amending the selection criteria. In the case of football for instance, according to the existing rules, players older than age 23 aren’t allowed to compete in the Olympics. However, the current Brazilian team counts 11 players who won’t tick that box anymore in 2021 if the rules remain unchanged… The 1-year postponement of the Olympic Games implies high flexibility from the organizers as well as from the participants. Maybe this could turn into a golden opportunity for some athletes who couldn’t qualify for 2020 to earn a second chance in 2021?