The International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) Wheelchair Fencing, working with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), has reopened the qualification pathway for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
In March this year, the sport announced that the remaining qualification events for the Paralympics were cancelled due to the global coronavirus outbreak. A revised qualification process was agreed and published shortly after.
However, following the subsequent postponement of Tokyo 2020 to 2021, the sport has been working with the IPC on the revised ‘Qualification Regulations’ which cover all sports.
As a result, the qualification period for wheelchair fencing will now end on 31 May 2021.
The sport is working to secure agreements with organisers of the European, Asian and Americas Championships and a World Cup, to re-schedule competitions to late 2020 and into 2021.
Rudi van den Abbeele, IWAS President, said: “We believe that this solution is the best possible outcome for the athletes, teams and wheelchair fencing more generally.
“The idea to reinstate all the cancelled events was agreed unanimously by the Athletes’ and Coaches’ Commission, as well as endorsed by the IWAS Wheelchair Fencing and IWAS Executive Boards.
“Now fencers will have the chance to compete at regional Championships in the build-up to the Paralympics in 2021, completing the same series of events that they would have done had the Games taken place this year.
“Hopefully this will be good news for the sport’s community, offering something to work towards, as many of us continue to adapt to major changes to our lives and routines.
“We are grateful for the patience and understanding of teams and Members as we have worked through the challenges of the last few months.”
The 2020 IWAS Wheelchair Fencing Asian Championships will re-join the programme for the IWAS World Games, taking place in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, from 10-17 December.
Dates and locations for the other regional Championships and the World Cup will be made available shortly.
Longer term, as a result of the changes, IWAS Wheelchair Fencing has also confirmed that the 2021 World Championships will be postponed to 2022. Any revisions to the calendar beyond that will be determined by the IWAS Wheelchair Fencing Executive Committee along with the Athletes’ and Coaches’ Commission in the coming weeks.
The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will take place on 24 August – 5 September 2021.