Although it is still not confirmed by FINA, the Asia Swimming Federation (AASF) announced that the 2018 Asian Games results were used to determine who will go to Tokyo. That means that winners Kazakhstan (men) and China (women) won’t have to go through the FINA World Qualification tournament in March. Another option was that all teams would participate at the FINA event as well.
There are no news on whether the men’s team of Iran and if the women’s teams of Kazakhstan and Thailand will take part in the FINA qualifications event. It is confirmed, however, that China’s men’s team won’t play in Rotterdam: they were training mostly in Europe, but after the cancelation of the Asian tournament, most players returned home.
So, here is where the complications begin. After China’s withdrawal, Turkey, that placed 12th at the Europeans, should be invited to participate in the World Qualifications. Also, if Iran gives up as well, France (finished 13th at the Europeans) would get a chance to battle for an Olympic quota in Rotterdam.
Also, in other news, Romania will replace Argentina. Calin Gavrus, President of the Romanian Water Polo Federation told Agerpres, the Romanian national news agency, that FINA had asked him if they accepted the invitation to participate in the Olympic qualification tournament in Rotterdam as Argentina stepped back.
I officially replied that we will be there. It is an expected opportunity with great interest from us. We look forward to playing with the best team in the world. We have a small chance, but the national team will try to make the most of it.
Overall, if the Asian teams officially withdraw and FINA invites the two European men’s teams of Turkey and France, and they accept the invitation, the new composition of groups of the men’s qualification event should be as follows:
Group A: Greece, Montenegro, Brazil, Canada, Georgia, Turkey (instead of Asia 1)
Group B: Croatia, Germany, Russia, Romania (instead of Argentina), Netherlands, France (instead of Asia 2).
Reminder: only AASF confirmed the decision on who’s already qualified for Tokyo and who would participate at the FINA qualifying tournament. It is still in FINA and the International Olympic Committee’s hand to confirm the final decision. As the event is in about a month, things are about to get hectic for the teams and the event organizers.
Cover photo: olympic.kz