Tokyo 2021: who is benefited and who is harmed?

Although the majority of qualifying processes will continue for the next year, many athletes and organizations will feel the impact of said modification.

Signage with symbol of the Olympic Games.

The sporting event was rescheduled and this represents advantages or disadvantages for some of its protagonists. / Photo: Unsplash

LatinamericanPost| Onofre Zambrano

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Leer en español: Tokyo 2021: ¿a quienes favorece y a quienes perjudica?

The Coronavirus pandemic continues to do its thing with the international sports organization chart, even beyond a date change. For example, in the case of the Olympic Games and their postponement to 2021, there are athletes benefited and harmed by the decision, as well as doubts regarding some qualifying processes.

The beneficiaries

The great benchmark of Spanish basketball Pau Gasol, 40 years old, currently without a team and recovering from an injury to his left foot, celebrated without a doubt that the Olympic Games have been postponed, as this gives him more margin to recover from his condition, in what will surely be his last Olympic performance.

"I work day by day to be physically well, we will see what happens, but I am positive and optimistic," said Gasol, in statements shown by Telemadrid.

For the same reason that Gasol celebrates, Carolina Marín, the reigning Olympic badminton champion,  who begins to recover from an operation for a previous cruciate ligament rupture, which took her from the highest level since 2019, celebrates.

Two other NBA superstars like Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets) with a torn Achilles tendon, and Stephen Curry, forward of the Golden State Warriors, (injured in one hand), have seen the light of being able to play the Olympics because they will have a year to recover from their physical problems, something that would not have happened with the original Tokyo 2020.

More injury cases. The Swiss tennis player Roger Federer, 39 and who also possibly plays in Tokyo his last Olympic Games, is still afflicted with an injury to his right knee, apart from that, his age was already another factor that placed him far from the Olympics if they would have been held this year.

 He said: "I have no news about my withdrawal, nor intention to stop. You never know, but at the moment I have no plans to withdraw" , reported Telemadrid.


The most affected

Spain has several athletes who unfortunately will be harmed by the postponement of the Olympic event to 2021.

The cyclist Alejandro Valverde, the basketball player Laia Palau, the handball captain Raúl Entrerríos, and the 50-year-old marcher Jesús Ángel García Bragado, planned that Tokyo 2020 would be the finishing touch to close their careers in their forties. It could not be like this and they will have to wait another year to see if their bodies are in full condition, as it seemed they were for this year's appointment.

"If the Games at the end are in the summer of 2021, if everything goes well and I continue to be fit, I will be there, although of course, I will be 41 years old and everything will be more complicated," Valverde said to Telemadrid.

A very striking case is that of the Brazilian Olympic Soccer Team, which has up to 11 players who will cease to be sub23 in 2021 and therefore will not be able to participate in the games. Among those affected are Lucas Paquetá (Milan), Maicon (Shakhtar), Gabriel (Lille); Luiz Felipe (Lazio) and Caio Enrique del Gremio.

In South America, the case of the Venezuelan karate fighter Antonio Díaz also stands out, who at the twilight of his career saw how karate was accepted as an Olympic sport but now must rethink his preparation for another year, with 40 years on his back. 

Also read: When does the transfer market return?

New classification criteria

The tentative date for the 2021 appointment would be from July 23 to August 8 of next year, but now the new classification deadline is June 29, 2021 and the lists of participants must be submitted until July 6, as reported by the IOC.

The same body, urged by the federations of the different sports, acted in favor of justice, “to find a balance between protecting those athletes who were close to qualifying thanks to their results before the 2020 limit and ensuring that the best will come to the Olympic Games ”, when considering their performances in 2021, according to Gaceta Deportes

In turn, World Athletics announced the cancellation of all qualifying events until November 30. The new qualifying round will be played between December 1 and June 29, 2021.


UCI modifies the ranking score

The International Cycling Union (UCI) seeks to match the situation with what should have happened in 2020. For this reason, two World Cup races in 2021 will validate points for the ranking, after freezing the ranking in early March.

By this 2020, and without the possibility of adding new points, there would be a general drop in points and many runners, especially from the top-50, could suffer drastic drops in the individual ranking. An aspect to which the maximum entity of cycling must find a solution.


What about those who are already classified?

IOC President Thomas Bach said that "athletes who had qualified for Tokyo 2020 still have the place by 2021." However, of the 50 disciplines that make up the Olympic scene, only 6 have already defined all the tickets for their competitions.

The sports defined are: Hockey, Volleyball, Softball and the three types of horse riding. To these must be added the athletes who, despite the fact that their disciplines are not yet defined, have already achieved their classification.

About 6,500 athletes had already secured their place in the Tokyo Olympics and of course they will keep it for 2021.



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