Reports are suggesting Olympics won’t expect qualified athletes to not have to re-qualify for the games which will now be held in 2021.
That is good news for nearly 60% of the expected 11,000 competitors who had already nailed down their qualification before it was announced earlier this week that the Games would have to be delayed for up to a year because of the global Covid-19 pandemic.
The announcement followed a teleconference which was held on Thursday between the IOC (International Olympic Committee) and the 32 international federations of the sports involved.
In some sports, such as sailing, some 90% of eligible competitors have already qualified. However, for a number of other federations, such as boxing and athletics, many sportsmen and women have not yet booked their places, with the qualification process interrupted at a critical juncture for many of them.
It will take at least three months for Olympic qualifying events to be rescheduled, although, with no idea yet when the worldwide health crisis will improve, no dates for their resumption can yet be agreed.
As for when the Games themselves will now take place, no decision has yet been made, with some federations favouring May, and others, June. Thomas Bach, president of the IOC, has confirmed that a final decision will be made in the next three to four weeks.
One other issue that was raised by some of the federations during the conference call was cash, with some of the sports hard hit, financially, by the decision to postpone the games, and forced to ask the IOC for an advance on the sums traditionally handed to them by the IOC after the Games have been held.
Some sportsmen and women, though, are coming to the realisation that the Olympics, whenever they are held in 2021, will just come too late for them now. For hundreds of athletes, the Tokyo Games was to be the culmination of their sporting careers, after which they were going to retire. A delay of up to a year may be more than some ageing and aching bodies can bear.
It also means that the hopes of seeing the likes of Roger Federer, Serena Williams, and Tiger Woods competing in Tokyo, all of whom were due to appearing 2020, are beginning to rapidly recede.