Tokyo 2020 Venue to Get 1st Test Run with Women's Tournament Featuring 5 World Medalists.

By Ken Marantz

CHIBA, Japan (Oct. 2)---The wrestling venue for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will get its first dry run with a three-day competition in the six women's Olympic weight classes, part of the organizing committee's "Ready Steady Tokyo" series of test events.

Makuhari Messe, an expansive international convention complex located down the coast from Tokyo in the western part of neighboring Chiba city, will host the Tokyo 2020 wrestling competition less than a year away. When a dedicated Olympic road is used during the Games, it is expected to be a 20-minute drive from the Olympic Village.

Coming so close to the World Championships in Kazakhstan and with a big domestic women's competition looming in a few weeks, the organizing committee had to scramble to fill the minimum eight places in each weight classes. But they managed to pull it off, as four of the weight classes have eight entries and two have nine.

And even under the circumstances, they have put together an impressive field, with no less than five medalists---all Chinese---and 11 wrestlers overall who participated at Nur-Sultan.

No members of the Japanese team, which won one gold and secured five of six places at Tokyo 2020 are entered, but there are a number of "next generation" wrestlers who have earned an abundance of world and continental laurels on the age-group level.

The objective of the tournament, of course, is to test technical and logistical aspects and work out any glitches before the Games. The Atos and Omega computer scoring systems will also be put to the test.

Makuhari Messe will be the host venue for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. But first, it'll host this week's test event.

"The test event is mainly for technical operations and to have the staff operate and communicate with each other," said Akiko Takeda, a Japan Wrestling Federation spokesperson who is serving as the international service manager for the venue.

Takeda pointed out that at Japan's major national competitions, the Japan federation completely handles the organizing and execution. But in the case of the test event, the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee is the organizer, and must coordinate between various local and international entities.

"The people come from many positions, big companies, the Metropolitan Tokyo Government, other prefectures," Takeda said. "To communicate is difficult. The organizational structure is isolated, and we need horizontal communication [between everyone]."

The wrestling competition will be held in the International Exhibition Hall of Makuhari Messe, which has a total floor space of nearly 80,000 square meters. For the test event, only Hall 5 will be used; for the Olympics, the dividers will be taken out and the space expanded into the two adjacent halls, allowing for spectator seating with a capacity of 10,000.

While the layout of the three mats, on connected octagonal stages, will be the same as for the Olympic event, there will be no spectators. Which is somewhat of a shame, as the quality of the wrestling will be quite high.

RONG Ningning (CHN) looks to finish a single-leg in the 57kg world finals against Risako KAWAI (JPN). (Photo: Gabor MARTIN) 

Heading the field will be RONG Ningning (CHN), a 2018 world champion who won the silver medal in Nur-Sultan after losing in the 57kg final to Risako KAWAI (JPN). The Asian champion's toughest test could come in a possible semifinal with compatriot ZHANG Qi (CHN), who was third at the Asian Championships at 59kg and was the 2018 world junior silver medalist.

On the other side of the draw are Hanako SAWA (JPN), the 2018 world junior champion, and Alina AKOBIIA (UKR), this year's world junior silver medalist.

At 53kg, Nur-Sultan bronze medalist PANG Qiangyu (CHN) could have a rematch of her Klippan Lady loss to 2018 world junior champion Umi IMAI (JPN). But Pang would first have to get past compatriot LUO Lannan (CHN), a 2018 Asian bronze medalist, and possibly Saki IGARASHI (JPN), the 2018 world junior and U23 champion at 55kg.

Also in the field are European champion Liliya HORISHNA (UKR) and 2018 European U23 gold medalist Nina MENKENOVA (RUS).

Olympic bronze medalist SUN Yanan (CHN), who deprived Japan an Tokyo 2020 berth at 50kg by topping Yuki IRIE (JPN) in a 13-12 second-round thriller in Nur-Sultan before finishing fifth, appears to be the one to beat in the lightest weight class.

Others entered include 2018 Asian champion LEI Chun (CHN), world junior bronze medalist Mariia VYNNYK (UKR) and up-and-coming Remina YOSHIMOTO (JPN), the Asian junior champion and Klippan Lady runner-up this year.

The 68kg division could feature a clash of current and former world bronze medalists in the semifinals, as WANG Xiaoqian (CHN), a third-place finisher in Nur-Sultan at 65kg, was drawn into the same half of the bracket at 2018 bronze medalist Feng ZHOU (CHN).

Naruha MATSUYUKI (JPN), a junior world champion, will wrestle at 68kg. (Photo: Kadir Caliskan)

World junior champion Naruha MATSUYUKI (JPN) is in the bottom half along with Alina RUDNYTSKA LEVYTSKA (UKR) and Alexandria GLAUDE (USA), who were world junior and U23 bronze medalists, respectively, in 2018.

At 62kg, another all-Chinese semifinal looms, this one between PEI Xingru (CHN), a world bronze medalist at 59kg, and LUO Xiaojuan (CHN), the Asian champion at 65kg. Pei will open against Mallory VELTE (USA), a 2018 world bronze medalist.

The other half of the draw features European U23 champion Ilona PROKOPEVNIUK (UKR) and a pair of 2018 world junior champions, Atena KODAMA (JPN) and Miyu IMAI (JPN).

The Chinese favorites at 76kg were drawn into separate brackets, making a gold-medal showdown possible between Paliha PALIHA (CHN), a bronze medalist at 72kg in Nur-Sultan, and ZHOU Qian (CHN), a two-time former world bronze medalist.

Looking to topple the great walls will be world junior bronze medalist Yasuha MATSUYUKI (JPN), who is Naruha's twin sister; Justina DI STASIO (CAN), the 2018 world champion at 72kg; and European junior bronze medalist Romana VOVCHAK (UKR).

For the tournament, there is a weight allowance of 2 kilograms.

Thursday, October 3

11:00-13:00  Qualification rounds WW - 76-68-62kg
18:15-19:15    Semifinals WW - 76-68-62kg

Friday, October 4
11:00-11:20   Repechage WW - 76-68-62kg
11:20-13:20   Qualification rounds WW - 57-53-50kg
18:15-19:15    Semifinals WW - 57-53-50kg
19:15-21:45    Finals WW - 76-68-62kg

Saturday, October 5
10:30-10:50   Repechage WW - 57-53-50kg
11:20-13:50    Finals WW - 57-53-50kg


Safe and Secure Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 - Version 2 of Tokyo 2020 Playbooks Released

By International Olympic Committee

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (April 28) --- The International Olympic Committee (IOC), International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 (Tokyo 2020) have today launched the second editions of the Tokyo 2020 Playbooks, with the version for Athletes and Team Officials.

Building on February’s publication, the new Playbooks provide more specific details to participants about the countermeasures that will help ensure safe and successful Games for all those taking part and the residents of Tokyo and Japan. Some of the key measures in the Playbooks can be found in the five-party joint statement.

The countermeasures detailed in the Playbooks are based on science, benefiting from learnings gathered during the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to implementing the most effective tools being used throughout society, such as screening testing, mask wearing, personal hygiene and physical distancing, they also draw upon the experience of hundreds of sports events that have taken place safely across the world over the past year, with minimal risk to participants and the local population.

The Playbooks have been developed through the ongoing work of the All-Partners Task Force, which includes the Government of Japan, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the IOC, IPC, World Health Organization and independent experts and organisations from across the world.

Speaking about the Playbooks, IOC President Thomas Bach said: “Tokyo and Japan have accepted the unprecedented challenge of organising the first postponed Olympic and Paralympic Games in history. We thank them for their great work in this respect and, as partners, we understand the great responsibility that everyone attending the Games must accept so that all participants and the Japanese population remain safe. This is why we have created the Playbooks, based on science and the best medical and event expertise available to us.”

He continued: “Providing more details about the operations that stakeholders can expect at Games time, we have also remained flexible to the evolving global situation, combining numerous countermeasures to create the safest possible environment. Increased testing for athletes and stakeholders, before and during the Games, is one important example. We’re also encouraged by the growing number of vaccinations being administered throughout the world. These tools will only work, however, if everyone shows solidarity and follows the guidelines. This is why those violating the rules can expect to be strictly dealt with in Tokyo. This is our commitment to the people of Tokyo and Japan, who are so kindly welcoming us to their city and country this summer.”

IPC President Andrew Parsons said: “With the support of the world’s leading experts in health and sport event delivery, the updated Playbooks offer greater information for everyone attending the Tokyo 2020 Games, outlining the roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder.

“As with the first editions, special considerations for persons with disabilities are included in all Playbooks, and I believe the stringent measures outlined will offer reassurance and comfort to all Games stakeholders, as well as the people of Japan. We are taking every possible measure to deliver safe Games.”

Tokyo 2020 President Hashimoto Seiko said: “The COVID-19 countermeasures included in the first edition of the Playbooks [published February 2021] have been reviewed and significantly updated in order to address the evolving situation of the pandemic. Rules to be observed by all Games participants during their stay in Japan have been expanded and clarified to include further details to ensure safe and secure Games.

“It is important that all stakeholders fully understand these rules, and that each and every one arrives in Japan with the understanding that their cooperation is critical to the success of the Games. We will hold online briefings for each of our stakeholder groups to ensure clear and comprehensive communication on these points.”

One of the key updates in this version of the Playbooks details daily testing, in principle, for athletes and those in regular contact with them, which will be a crucial part of minimising transmission and the risk of an uncontrolled outbreak. Testing will be used for general screening and for those identified as a close contact of a positive case; as well as for diagnosis for those experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.

The latest Playbooks also outline the role of COVID-19 Liaison Officers (CLOs), to be appointed by each stakeholder, who will work very closely with Tokyo 2020 and Japanese health authorities. They will receive extensive training to enable them to play a key role throughout the Games, providing an essential support network for their delegation. The CLOs will ensure all members of their organisation are fully informed of the contents of their relevant Playbooks. In addition, they will be monitoring the implementation of all COVID-19 countermeasures, ensuring participants follow their detailed activity plans and managing any positive cases that are detected.

The publication of version two of the Playbooks builds upon the optimisation and simplification of operational plans, reduced delegations from all Olympic and Paralympic Movement stakeholders, and the decision and announcement in March by the Japanese side, and respected and accepted by the IOC and IPC, to not allow spectators from overseas to enter Japan.

In acknowledging the evolving COVID-19 situation around the world, the IOC, IPC and Tokyo 2020 reinforced their commitment to regularly update the Playbooks. They will continue to receive regular input from the All-Partners Task Force, taking into account the latest advances in science and developments on the ground, in close collaboration with experts. As part of this ongoing evolution, the next version of the Playbooks (which is expected to be final) will be published in June 2021.