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Sports News of Friday, 21 August 2020


Weightlifting qualifiers for Tokyo 2020 now set for November

File photo - Ghanaian weightlifter File photo - Ghanaian weightlifter

Ghana’s weightlifting duo must be waiting fretfully to pounce on their final all-important Japan 2020 Olympics qualifier.

Earlier slated for Mauritius in March, this year, the qualifier was deferred to August and has now been finally moved to November – nearly three months later.

Two of the nation’s trusted lifters – Christian Amoah, who is the captain of the weightlifting team, and London-based Forester Osei, are tipped to make it to the quadrennial sports festival.

The event has now been delayed by several months in view of the rampaging coronavirus.

With the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing postponement of Tokyo 2020, the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) has revised the qualifying system for the Olympic Games next year.

The new period will run from October 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021 and allow for further qualification. It will also allow replacement events for those cancelled to be held during this period.

The Mauritius African qualifiers will, however, be held in November, this year.

According to the IWF, all results and rankings achieved by weightlifters during the qualifying events prior to the suspension of qualifying will be retained.

“The IWF is deeply conscious of the efforts made by weightlifters and those who support them to pursue their Olympic dreams at Tokyo 2020,” said IWF Acting President Ursula Papandrea.

“Preserving their progress was a vital step for us, as was ensuring a similar range of opportunities to those being provided before the pandemic halted the Olympic Qualification System for weightlifting.”

She said even if athletes have secured enough points to qualify, they will still be required to compete at least one more time during this new period.

In February, this year, Amoah grabbed two bronze medals at the 6th Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation Annual Weightlifting Championship in Uzbekistan.

Amoah’s feat brought to five medals won at the cosmopolitan, multi-ethnic city of Tashkent.

Earlier in the same event, Osei put up a remarkable performance to clinch three silver medals which served as a Japan 2020 Olympics qualifier.

Both Amoah and Osei competed in the 95kg category. A third lifter, David Akwei, contested in the 65kg, but unfortunately failed to glow.

Per the standings, none of the weightlifters have made it to the Tokyo Olympics as yet – though they have garnered substantial number of points to boost their chances.

Come November, the Ghanaian athletes would be expected to dash for the jugular and make good their final chance in the Indian Ocean island nation. Both Amoah and Osei were at the Rio Olympics in Brazil, four years ago and have vowed to stage an encore.

A statement by the IWF indicated that a total of 56 men and same number of women would qualify on the basis of world ranking points with a further 35 men and 35 women set to make the grade on continental ranking points.

Three men and same number of women are also expected to be granted host country qualifying status, while four men and four women would receive tripartite commission invitations.