18 Mar. 2020
Yesterday (Tuesday 17 March), IHF President Dr Hassan Moustafa participated in a video conference call with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), regarding the situation around the COVID-19 virus and its impact on preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
All the summer sport International Federations (IF) were involved, with the IOC following up with National Olympic Committee (NOCs) and athletes’ representatives in the coming days.
The resulting communication, updating on the status of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, including qualification systems, was unanimously approved by the IOC Executive Board and all Olympic Summer Sports Federations, including the IHF.
The full communication from the IOC can be found HERE.
“This is an unprecedented situation for the whole world, and our thoughts are with all those affected by this crisis,” said the IOC communication. “We are in solidarity with the whole of society to do everything to contain the virus.
“The situation around the COVID-19 virus is also impacting the preparations for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and is changing day by day.
“The IOC remains fully committed to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and with more than four months to go before the Games there is no need for any drastic decisions at this stage; and any speculation at this moment would be counter-productive.
“The IOC encourages all athletes to continue to prepare for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 as best they can. We will keep supporting the athletes by consulting with them and their respective NOCs, and by providing them with the latest information and developments, which are accessible for athletes worldwide on the Athlete365 website and via their respective NOCs and IFs.”
The IOC agreed the following overriding principles about the staging of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, which the IHF fully supports:
1. To protect the health of everyone involved and to support the containment of the virus
2. To safeguard the interests of the athletes and of Olympic sport
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games – Qualified Teams & IHF Tokyo Handball Qualification
Half of both the men’s and women’s teams (six of 12 each) have qualified for the Tokyo 2020 handball competitions so far, with the remaining six set to qualify through their respective qualification tournaments.
However, following the news on Friday, 13 March that both the Women’s and Men’s IHF Tokyo Handball Qualification Tournaments have been postponed to June 2020, the IOC confirmed, in their same communication, the following information relating to qualification:
“To date, 57% of the athletes are already qualified for the Games. For the remaining 43% of places, the IOC will work with the IFs to make any necessary and practical adaptations to their respective qualification systems for Tokyo 2020, in line with the following principles:
1. All quota places that have already been allocated to date remain allocated to the NOCs and athletes that obtained them.
2. The possibility remains to use existing and scheduled qualification events, wherever these still have fair access for all athletes and teams.
3. All necessary adaptations to qualification systems and all allocation of remaining places will be:
a) based on on-field results (e.g. IF ranking or historical results); and
b) reflect where possible the existing principles of the respective qualification systems (e.g. use of rankings or continental/regional specific event results).
“The IFs will make proposals for any adaptations to their respective qualification systems based on the principles outlined above. The adaptations need to be implemented sport by sport because of the differences between qualification systems.
“The IOC has already put in place an accelerated procedure to solve this situation. Any necessary revisions to the Tokyo 2020 qualification systems by sport will be published by the beginning of April 2020 and communicated to all stakeholders.”
“The health and well-being of all those involved in the preparations for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is our number-one concern,” added IOC President Thomas Bach to the communication.
“All measures are being taken to safeguard the safety and interests of athletes, coaches and support teams. We are an Olympic community; we support one another in good times and in difficult times. This Olympic solidarity defines us as a community.”
The IHF is in constant contact with the IOC regarding the ongoing COVID-19 situation and fully supports their communication released yesterday. Any updates regarding this situation will be posted here on IHF.info.