While New Zealand has been captivated by the Cricket World Cup and Netball World Cup over the past month, many New Zealand athletes have been competing around the world in preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. At the Pacific Island Games in Samoa, New Zealand won 24 medals, including eight gold. New Zealand secured a quota spot in archery after a gold medal-winning performance in the mixed team competition. Archery need to now meet the New Zealand top 16 selection standard, and if successful, New Zealand would send its first archers to the Olympic Games since 2004 in Athens.
New Zealand rowers have also been competing in Europe in preparation for the World Champs in Austria next month where New Zealand will have the opportunity to qualify boats for the Olympic Games. At the recent Triathlon World Cup in Edmonton, New Zealand claimed gold in the mixed team event. New Zealand sits fourth in the world rankings, and with three races to go over the coming months, need to finish in the top eight to qualify a spot for Tokyo.
One Year to Go Countdown
On July 24, 2020, 206 nations will walk into the National Stadium in Tokyo for the Opening Ceremony of the XXXII Olympiad. The world’s largest sporting event consisting of 33 sports, 339 events and more than 11,000 athletes will captivate and excite the world over 16 jammed packed days, and you can be sure that New Zealand athletes will come to the fore through the games.
Of the 33 sports set to take place, karate, sport climbing, surfing and skateboarding will make their Olympic debuts, and baseball and softball will return to the Olympic program for the first time since 2008.
A year out from the Opening Ceremony, New Zealand is set to send its largest team to an Olympic Games, eclipsing the 199 sent to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Moreover, with a record size team heading to Tokyo, there will be plenty of opportunities to watch Kiwis in action. There is also just a three-hour time difference between Japan and New Zealand, meaning many kiwis will be in action during prime time, a far cry from late nights of recent Olympic Games in London and Rio.
While the New Zealand Olympic Committee don't begin to select the team until late February 2020, it's already shaping up to be an exciting Olympics. Qualification events will take place for numerous sports over the coming months, including rowing, where the 2019 World Championships will take place in Austria in August and gives New Zealand a chance to secure quota spots. As has been the case at recent games, rowing is likely to be one of the powerhouse sports for New Zealand in Tokyo.
From now until June 2020, 56 Olympic test events will take place in Tokyo. A test event is a dress rehearsal to confirm and improve the competition and Games operation capabilities to ensure a successful operation during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Upcoming test events to look out for in August is the 2019 Tokyo ITU World Olympic Qualification Event, and the Olympic Sailing Test, where New Zealand athletes will be taking part.
More information on the test events can be found here: https://tokyo2020.org/en/games/sport/testevents/