Olympic Games | 16 Jul 2020

IOC announces adapted Tokyo 2020 qualification systems for each sport

Further to the approval of a series of amendments to the Tokyo 2020 qualification system principles by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Qualification Task Force in April 2020, the review of the International Federation (IF) qualification processes for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and each sport has now been finalised.


The IOC has been working closely with all the IFs to determine the necessary adaptations to the Olympic qualification systems for their respective sports, and athletes and National Olympic Committees (NOCs) have been consulted as well.


A representative group of NOCs was involved in the review process, and athlete consultation was sought through each IF.


A total of 57 per cent of all the qualification places had been confirmed by the time the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 were postponed. In order to adapt the qualification systems for the remaining places to the new timing of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the qualification system principles were updated, approved by the Qualification Task Force (acting on behalf of the IOC Executive Board) and shared with all the IFs.


The updates included a number of changes, such as an extended qualification period and new deadlines:


  • A new qualification deadline of 29 June 2021, based on the Olympic Games starting on 23 July (day of the Opening Ceremony);
  • The potential extension of sport-specific qualification periods if such an extension respects the qualification period deadline of 29 June 2021;
  • The revised final entries deadline of 5 July 2021;
  • If a qualification system specified age eligibility criteria, the criteria should be extended to cover the new dates, allowing athletes who were eligible in July 2020 to remain eligible in 2021. All eligibility and age criteria would be at the discretion of the respective IFs.


Based on these revised qualification system principles, the IOC Sports Department worked in close collaboration with all the IFs to determine if any revisions were necessary.


There were four rounds of approvals from the IOC Executive Board (EB) Qualification Task Force, on 25 April, 6 May, 13 May and 7 July 2020.


The main objective was to implement qualification systems as close as possible to those approved by the IOC EB in February 2018.


The following sports/disciplines have finished their qualification, and the quotas have already been allocated. Team selection remains to be determined by the NOCs, as in all the sports the quotas are allocated to the NOCs. The sports/disciplines are:


  • Cycling (Road and Track), Equestrian (Dressage, Eventing and Jumping), Hockey and Softball.


The following sports/disciplines are continuing with their qualification process as initially approved, and will simply extend the qualification period to reflect the new Games dates in 2021:


  • Archery, Artistic Swimming, Baseball, Basketball 3x3, Boxing, Canoe (Slalom and Sprint), Diving, Fencing, Football, Golf, Gymnastics (Artistic, Rhythmic and Trampoline), Handball, Karate, Marathon Swimming, Modern Pentathlon, Rugby, Sailing, Shooting, Sport Climbing, Surfing, Table Tennis, Tennis, Triathlon and Water Polo.


The following sports/disciplines have made minor adjustments to their qualification systems, such as extended periods to obtain minimum criteria, clarification of the process for the reallocation of any unused athlete places, and clarification on the use of specific events in line with the adapted 2021 IF calendars. The sports/disciplines concerned are:


  • Rowing, Swimming, Badminton, Skateboarding, Taekwondo and Wrestling.


The following sports/disciplines have made major adjustments to their qualification systems:


  • Athletics, Cycling (BMX Freestyle, BMX Racing and Mountain Bike), Weightlifting, Basketball and Judo.


The age requirements of the sports concerned have been amended to reflect the new Tokyo 2020 dates. As a consequence, athletes who will meet the age limits in 2021 but did not in 2020 can participate in the Games. At the same time, athletes who would have been within the age limit in 2020 but no longer in 2021 can still participate in the Games. There are two exceptions, however:


  • Boxing: The age requirements have been adjusted and increased by one year. Athletes must have been born between 1 January 1980 and 31 December 2002 to take part.
  • Football: It has been confirmed that athletes who were entitled to compete in July 2020 will remain eligible in July 2021. The maximum age for the men’s event was 23, but for Tokyo 2020 this will be 24. Additionally, the rule of having three athletes per team with no age restrictions remains valid.


All the qualification event dates and locations remain to be determined, given the ongoing global situation. These dates will be confirmed in due course by the respective IFs.


All decisions have been communicated to the IFs, and the full details for each individual sport can be found in the respective qualification system per sport.


As part of the work of the “Here We Go” Task Force currently addressing the list of issues raised by the postponement of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the IOC Qualification Task Force was created to address all items related to the Tokyo 2020 qualification system principles. The Task Force is composed of Robin Mitchell, IOC Executive Board member and President of the Oceania Olympic Committees (ONOC); Nenad Lalovic, IOC Executive Board member and President of United World Wrestling (UWW); and Kirsty Coventry, IOC Executive Board member and Chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission.