Sports leaders, officials and players alike should concentrate on the more urgent need of overcoming the Covid-19 pandemic rather than the hullabaloo of Olympic qualifications.
Just let the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and international federations resolve the qualification issues. Already, IOC have set the new Olympics dates (July 23-Aug 8, 2021).
After all, they are the elected bodies to handle the Games in the best interest of all the affiliates.
Following the Olympics postponement, there has been much hue and cry about athletes who have qualified for the Olympics but may have to start all over again, if IOC start qualifications at “zero”.
To this, the IOC replied that those who have qualified earlier, will keep their places for the Games. Around 57 per cent of the 11,000 scheduled participants have already qualified.
Now, the focus has shifted to the many qualifying tournaments which had to be postponed because of the coronavirus plague.
Thirty-three international sports federations must now adapt to the new timing of the Games.
Questions like “what about world rankings?” will be on the minds of many.
It must be stressed that while rankings may change soon, those who have already qualified, must retain their slots and the rest filled up by those who make the cut based on the total number allocated for each sport for the Games.
A great deal of adjustments needs to be done in planning the international federations’ calendars. One option will be to have their annual world championships for 2020 be combined into 2021.
All international federations normally have four-year cycle calendars, and this has to be reorganised.
A taskforce called “Here We Go”, comprising members of the IOC Coordination Commission and Organising Committee, will navigate the complicated challenges.
There are more grim issues than just Olympics qualifying as host Japan is going to suffer economically, face logistics issues, financial organisational losses, and much more.
With so many pressing problems looming over the Olympic Games, the last thing we need is for Malaysians to moan about qualifying matters.
Just wait for the decisions and work towards their goals. With ample time before the Games, athletes should use it to their advantage.
All the talk about “qualified” athletes being a year older should not arise. They will just have to continue working hard to be in prime condition. If they need to reschedule their training programme, so be it. It is a small sacrifice for the opportunity to compete in the Olympics.
The coaches have to think out of the box to prepare their athletes to be at their optimum while this is the time for the National Sports Institute to prove their ability in assisting the athletes to prepare themselves.
After all, only 12 Malaysian athletes have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics so far though the OCM hope to send a contingent of 30 to 35 athletes to Tokyo.
It is better that we stop fretting over petty issues, look at the bigger picture and emerge from the situation stronger.
On the home front, why are we making an issue of the age limit for the Johor Malaysia Games (Sukma) if it is held next year?
We are dealing with an unprecedented situation, the Sukma has to be postponed. So, just let the age qualification for this year to be carried forward to next year, this to allow the athletes who have been training for the past two years the opportunity to compete.
Don’t let pettiness kill sports.