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Olympic fencing events on hold as 2020 Tokyo Games postponed for a year

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Olympic fencing events on hold as 2020 Tokyo Games postponed for a year

Image credit: Eurosport

ByBeth Knox
04/04/2020 at 11:26 | Updated 04/04/2020 at 11:26

This year’s Tokyo Olympic Games have been postponed for a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

After weeks of intense speculation and calls by several nations and governing bodies to delay this year’s Games, Tokyo 2020 and the International Olympic Committee have reached an agreement for the Olympics to now take place from 23 July to 8 August 2021.

The Opening Ceremony on 23 July 2021 will be held almost exactly one year after the games were originally scheduled to start, with the Paralympic Games, originally due to start on 24 August 2020, now lined up to take place between 24 August and 5 September 2021.

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Despite taking place a year later than planned, both the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games will still be called Tokyo 2020 and will be the first time in the Olympic Games’ 124-year modern history that they have been delayed. They were cancelled altogether in 1916 because of World War One and again in 1940 and 1944 for World War Two.

Olympic organisers also hope the delay will allow sufficient time to finish the qualification process which will follow the same mitigation measures planned for 2020. It had previously been confirmed that all athletes already qualified and quota places already assigned will remain unchanged.

Olympic qualifying in fencing was suspended indefinitely when the sport’s governing body, the International Fencing Federation (FIE) cancelled all international tournaments early last month for five weeks because of the coronavirus outbreak. The FIE postponed the Grand Prix in Anaheim, California, along with four World Cup events and the Olympic zonal qualifiers.

Olympic qualifying primarily was due to end on 4 April but the postponements of the Anaheim Grand Prix along with men’s saber World Cup in Budapest, Hungary; the men’s epee World Cup in Buenos Aires, Argentina; the women’s saber World Cup in Sint-Niklaas, Belgium; and the women’s epee World Cup in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, at the time ruled out any late qualification hopes for fencers still looking to make this year’s Games.

The Olympic zonal qualifiers in Cairo (Africa), Seoul (Asia), Madrid (Europe) and Panama City (Americas) from 15 to 19 April also could not be held as available spots in those events only went to countries without qualified fencers.

As yet no official announcement has been made for the rescheduling of all of these events due to the ongoing worldwide coronavirus crisis, although the FIE are said to be closely monitoring the situation and hope to be able to confirm their future plans in the near future.

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