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Olympics-qualifying events resume as Tokyo Games draw ever closer

WITH Olympics officials reiterating their commitment to holding the Tokyo Games this year despite the COVID-19 pandemic, several sports will soon resume qualifying for athletes with less than six months to go.

The pandemic decimated Olympic qualifying across sporting disciplines last year, with numerous competitions postponed or canceled before the Games itself was pushed back a year.

As things stand, 61% of athlete quota places have already been allocated to National Olympic Committees for the July 23-Aug. 8 Games, with another 25% to be determined by June 29.

The remaining 14%, in sports including swimming, tennis, badminton, and golf, will be decided according to their respective ranking systems, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said last week.

Olympic officials unveiled their first Games guidelines on Wednesday, including mandatory mask-wearing, a ban on chants during events and another on the use of public transport.

So far, only five Olympic disciplines have completed the qualification process for Tokyo — road and track cycling, equestrian, hockey, volleyball and climbing.

Track and field athletes have until June 29 to secure qualification through World Athletics’ rankings pathway, which will be based on the average of an athlete’s top five results, with performances weighted according to the status of the meet.

The top 10 finishers in marathon events at the 2019 Doha world championships and each of the marathon majors held up to April 5, 2020, have already qualified for the Games.

Triathlon hopefuls, however, are in limbo because standings have been frozen since March. The World Triathlon Executive Board said on Friday that it would not restart qualifying until May 1, and would only take a final decision next month. — Reuters

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