The International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) Wheelchair Fencing has revealed new dates and locations for a series of regional and World Cup competitions that were postponed in 2020.
All four competitions are qualifiers for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games but were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Joining the previously announced IWAS Wheelchair Fencing Asian Championships in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, from 10-17 December, two more region-wide events as well as a World Cup will take place in 2021.
First-up is a World Cup in Brazil from 24-28 February. This is swiftly followed by the Americas Championships from 28 February-3 March. The host city will be announced shortly.
The Euros are scheduled for 24-30 May in their original location of Hatfield, Great Britain.
“We are really pleased to be able to refresh and revive the pathway to Tokyo 2020,” IWAS President Rudi van den Abbeele, said. “As some athletes now begin to return to training, we hope this offers them something positive to work towards after all the uncertainty of the last few months.
“We do however continue to monitor the situation to ensure that everyone attending any competitions will be safe. Not only that, but we must make sure that the field of athletes is strong and that any challenges such as travel restrictions have been broadly relaxed to enable maximum participation.
“Our work, and that of the organisers, continues. I would like to thank them for their flexibility and efforts in providing the stage for wheelchair fencing’s return.”
The announcement of the new dates follows the confirmation of the revised qualification regulations for Tokyo 2020, which will now be held from 24 August – 5 September 2021, by the International Paralympic Committee.
The qualification window will now run until 31 May 2021. So far results from eight World Cups and the 2019 World Championships have been included in the Paralympic rankings since 1 November 2018.
The wheelchair fencing calendar is currently set to resume with a World Cup in Pisa, Italy, from 19-22 November. This remains outside of the qualification pathway for the Paralympics as do any additional World Cups which may take place between now and the end of May.
“Again we are keeping a very close eye on things but at the moment we feel it’s important, if we can, to offer athletes the chance to return to competition in Pisa without the immediate pressure of fencing for regional titles or achieving ranking points,” van den Abbeele continued. “If it is possible to offer the opportunity to ease back in a little bit after a very strange year, we will do so.”