The specific situation about Asian water polo qualifications for the Olympic Games in Tokyo should be resolved soon.
As we reported a few weeks ago, the Asian Water Polo Championships (the continental qualification tournament for the Olympics) was canceled. Kazakhstan, the host country, had to give up the organization of the Championships since the Government of Kazakhstan suspended the issue of visas to Chinese citizens because of an outbreak of a coronavirus spread.
According to the latest information from the Asian Swimming Federation (AASF), the ranking at the Asian Games, that were held in Indonesia 2018, will be applied to determine the outcome of the continental qualifications. Total Waterpolo already wrote about this possibility three days ago, after the draw for the Olympic qualification tournaments.
That means that the male team of Kazahstan and the Chinese female squad secured their spots at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, as the champions of the Asian Games. Still, this AASF’s decision has to be confirmed by FINA and the International Olympic Committee.
Male teams of China and Iran and female teams of Kazakhstan and Thailand have the right to participate at the World qualification tournaments in Rotterdam (men) and Trieste (women).
But, China and most likely Iran as well, won’t take part in the qualifications in Rotterdam. We still have no information about the decisions of Kazakhstan’s and Thailand’s national federations.
Petar Porobic, China’s head coach, confirmed to Total Waterpolo, that China won’t play at the World qualifications. The Chinese male team was preparing in Europe for a while. They were preparing for the Asian Championships, but after the cancelation of the tournament, most of the players returned home.
Besides the Asians, Argentina withdrew from the qualifications, although it confirmed the participation early in February.
Argentina will be replaced by Romania. The Romanians confirmed that they were invited yesterday.
“I received an official e-mail from FINA last night asking if the Romanian Polo Federation accepts the invitation to participate in the Olympic qualification tournament in Rotterdam instead of Argentina, which gave up. 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 – Calin Gavrus, the president of the Romanian Water Polo Federation told in an interview for the Romanian national news agency AGERPRES
After China’s withdrawal, Turkey (the 12th-placed team at the European Championships) should be invited to participate in World Qualifications in Rotterdam. If Iran also gives up, France (13th place at the ECH) will get a chance to battle for an Olympic visa in Rotterdam.
To remind, this was the rankings at the 2018 Asian Games: 1. Kazakhstan, 2. Japan, 3. Iran, 4. China (Japan is already qualified as a host).
So, if the Asian teams officially withdraw and if FINA invites the two European teams (Turkey and France) and they accept the invitation, the new composition of groups at the male qualification tournament in Rotterdam 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).
But, all of this, still, have to be confirmed by FINA. The officials have no much time. The tournament in Rotterdam will be played late in March (22nd – 25th), while the women’s qualifications in Trieste will be held a week earlier.