28 Mar 2020

Tokyo Olympics: New Zealand athletes' qualification spots secure

9:46 am on 28 March 2020

Qualification spots earned by New Zealand athletes for this year's Tokyo Olympics are safe and sound.

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke 49er 2020 world champs.


The status of qualification places came under the spotlight after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced on Monday the Games would be postponed until next year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

But in a conference call with more than 100 representatives of various National Olympic Committees overnight on Friday, the IOC confirmed all quota spots already secured would remain with the nations and athletes that earned them.

It was also confirmed a decision on when the Games would take place could be expected within three weeks.

New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) chief executive Kereyn Smith said the news was fantastic for their athletes.

"We're thankful the IOC will be honouring existing athlete quota spots. A huge amount of work went into our sports and athletes earning those spots and we're pleased they will be retained.

"We also look forward to learning the exact date of the Games. Our athletes have reacted extremely well to the postponement of the Games and having a date to work towards will allow them to carry out the meticulous planning and the training required for an Olympic Games performance."

While the quota spots remained with New Zealand, nominations and selections were on hold until further information was received.

The NZOC said criteria for all but three sports would be redrafted and new qualification events confirmed by the IOC and the International Federations of many sports once dates were set for the Games.

Just 12 athletes had been named to the Kiwi team before the postponement was announced this week.

That included seven sailors, two shooters, two from canoe slalom and one from taekwondo.

Prior to the postponement, the New Zealand team was expected to eventually number around 200 athletes.

Smith acknowledged the huge task of Games organisers and thanked them for their ongoing work.

"It is an enormous challenge to reschedule the Olympic Games.

"The task is monumental but it's great to see details coming to life and we are already looking forward to being in Tokyo in 2021."

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