Weightlifting has been given approval by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to extend its Tokyo 2020 qualifying period by a year, until the end of April 2021.
Every athlete, including those who already have enough points to qualify, will be compelled to compete at least one more time in the period between October 1 this year and April 30 next year.
The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) also wanted all 196 qualified athletes to attend a compulsory pre-Games training camp, at which they would have been subject to anti-doping testing to ensure all athletes went to Tokyo “clean”.
The IOC Sport Commission rejected this “new eligibility requirement”, pointing out that it was not COVID-19-related, and that it might burden National Olympic Committees (NOCs) with extra costs, but has said the idea could work on a voluntary basis.
Several nations already have other pre-Tokyo training plans in place.
The IOC’s recommendations have been notified to all NOCs, and will be discussed by the IWF Executive Board at a videolink meeting on Sunday.
In the new qualifying timetable, the period between April 30 and September 30 this year becomes barren as so many competitions have been cancelled or postponed.
The original qualifying schedule was split into three six-month phases ending on April 30 this year, with athletes compelled to enter at least six competitions over the 18 months.
Four results from those competitions count towards the final qualifying points total – one each from the three phases, plus the best other total.
Additionally, entry in at least one IWF World Championships or continental championships is compulsory.
Because all five 2020 continental championships have been postponed during the COVID-19 pandemic, along with the IWF Junior World Championships and other events, the IOC has agreed to an extended qualifying programme.
The first two phases were completed without interruption, and performances from those two phases count.
Phase three of qualifying is split into two parts, A and B.
Part A ran from 1 November 2019 to April 30 2020, and covered the time when all the continental championships, plus the World Junior Championships, were postponed.
Junior Championships, were postponed.
Part B runs from October 1 and will feature the postponed events, provided health and travel conditions are suitable for them to be rearranged.
No “new” competitions – ones that were not on the original 2020 calendar – can be added to the qualifying schedule.
Athletes with a good result from part A can count it but, like all others, they must enter a competition in part B and present themselves for testing, even if they do not need the points.
The athletes who might benefit from the extension are those who were injured during all or part of the original phase 3, or who had underperformed in it.