After consulting with the IOC and the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, FINA has decided to postpone the 2020 Olympic Games Qualification Tournament, originally scheduled from April 30 to May 3 in Tokyo, to June.
FINA added that the “place and exact dates [are] to be confirmed.”
It assured that it “is doing its utmost to preserve athletes, coaches and officials’ health, while being perfectly aware of the severe limitations they are enduring concerning their training and normal preparation for the Olympic Games. FINA is striving to preserve the integrity of the qualification procedure, adapting it in accordance with the challenging times we are living.”
In addition to the artistic swimming qualification tournament, the Diving World Cup scheduled for April 21 – 26 in Tokyo has been postponed, also serving as an Olympic qualifier.
This decision comes as no surprise as hundreds of sporting events around the world have already been postponed or cancelled due to the pandemic. After a first meeting on March 12 of the newly-formed FINA COVID-19 task force, it was decided to postpone the second, third, and fourth legs of the FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Egypt (Mar 27 – 29), Hungary (Apr 9 – 11), and Russia (Apr 17 – 19) respectively. The new dates have not been determined yet.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has reiterated that the Olympic Games in Tokyo would start on schedule on July 24. The IOC has recently faced mounting criticism from athletes across the world, accusing the organization of putting them “in danger” by insisting it remains fully committed to the Games, and of disregarding the lack of fairness in the training conditions out of the athletes’ control. Many have called for the Olympics to be postponed as training has become impossible for thousands for the foreseeable future.
The epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic has now shifted to Europe, where many countries have implemented strict restrictions to further limit the spread of the disease. It has reached a point where the nations that can train normally are only a handful. The athletes of Italy, Spain and France are on complete lockdown, while the swimmers in Austria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, the Netherlands, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, or Switzerland are all currently in quarantine and affected by training center and swimming pool closures.
The situation is just as dire everywhere else. The synchro team of Israel is in mandatory quarantine for 14 days after returning from France, and the U.S. senior team has also been put in quarantine a few days ago for at least three weeks after the city of San Francisco and the county declared a lockdown. In other nations like in Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Peru, or Thailand, all athletes are out of the pool and in self-isolation.