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2020 Olympics: National committees have final say on qualified athletes – IOC

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Tokyo 2020, Olympic
Athletes already qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will need to be picked again by their respective National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to compete at the postponed Games in 2021.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced this on Thursday.

The IOC and Japanese government had succumbed to intense pressure from athletes and sports bodies around the world last week by agreeing to postpone the Games by a year to 2021.

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This was because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Some 57 percent of the expected 11,000 athletes had already qualified for the Tokyo Games this year before qualification tournaments were scrapped as the virus spread in recent months.

Those athletes, the IOC said, would keep their qualification, but they have to be re-selected for next year by their NOCs again as they represented a country and not themselves.

“All of the qualifications that have been achieved by NOCs and individual athletes remain in place.

“Any athlete needs to be individually selected because they represent their NOC. In all sports, the NOC retains the right to select the athletes,” IOC sports director, Kit McConnell, said during a conference call.

McConnell said the IOC was also in talks with world football governing body FIFA.

He said this was to decide on the tournament next year, as only players aged under 23 are allowed to compete apart from a limited number of over-age players per team.

In many cases, several footballers will be above the age limit next year despite having qualified this year.

In several sports, there are specific age regulations, minimum or maximum, for health safety or to provide an age group as in men’s football with under-23.”

“We are in discussions with FIFA… We have to finalise that in the coming weeks.”

The IOC is also making efforts to make the athletes’ village available again after it was planned to be sold off as apartments after this year’s Games.

“The village is part of the priority.

“The village is the home away from home, a fantastic development. It is one of the very first tasks to re-secure this fantastic property.

“Yes, it is absolutely on that urgency list,” the IOC’s Olympic Games Executive Director Christopher Dubi said.

Dubi said those priority venues, including the dozens of sports venues, convention sites and thousands of hotel rooms, would need to be re-secured quickly.

“All of this has to be re-secured for one year later. It is a massive undertaking to get back to fundamentals,” he said.
Dubi added that the IOC planned to have finalised talks for those “priority” locations in a matter of weeks.


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