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Olympic Surfing in Tokyo 2020

What is the criteria for the Olympic Surfing in Tokyo 2020?

With the Olympic Surfing in Tokyo 2020, there are stringent qualification requirements to satisfy selection eligibility.

With surfing debuting for the first time as an Olympic event, the IOC (the International Olympic Committee) have worked with the ISA (International Surfing Association) who have worked together with the WSL to set the qualification standards and the selection criteria for countries to select their athletes to compete in the Olympic Surfing in Tokyo 2020.

In the middle of March 2018, the IOC released the approved qualification system for the sports first Olympic inclusion. It is a system will allow the participation of the worlds best WSL as well enable participation of surfers from around the world.

Here is a summary of the key elements of the qualification system are as follows:

  • There are spots for 20 men and 20 women so a total of 40 surf athletes for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
  • There is a maximum of 2 men and 2 women surfers per National Olympic Committee (NOC).
  • Qualification spots will be earned on an individual basis, by name.
  • In accordance with IOC guidelines, the qualification events have been determined in hierarchical order of qualification, as further explained below; If two surfers of a gender have qualified through the first hierarchical order, that NOC will not be able to qualify more surfers of that gender through qualifying events lower in hierarchical order.
  • All surfers selected by their respective National Federations for their national teams must participate in 2019 and 2020 ISA World Surfing Games in order to be eligible for Olympic qualification. The final details of the eligibility requirements are still under review by the ISA and the IOC. 

The hierarchical order of qualification will be as follows:

  1. 2019 World Surf League Championship Tour: First 10 eligible men and first 8 eligible women.
  2. 2020 ISA World Surfing Games: First 4 eligible men and first 6 eligible women.
  3. 2019 ISA World Surfing Games: 4 men and 4 women selected based on their continent. Top finishing eligible surfer of each gender from Africa, Asia, Europe and Oceania.
  4. 2019 Pan American Games: First eligible man and first eligible woman in the surfing competitions.

There is also Host nation slot included. This means that one man and one woman slot will be guaranteed for the host nation of Japan, unless already filled through the above hierarchies. Should athletes from Japan qualify regularly, their slots will be reallocated to the highest ranked eligible surfers from the 2020 World Surfing Games.

The ISA and WSL formed a benchmark agreement at the end of 2017 and then the ISA went to work on putting together the recommended guidelines which they then refined with the IOC before the IOC then released the final qualification guidelines.

For more information, follow this link to the complete ISA Qualification Guidelines 

You can also see the information that the ISA have on their website for surfing’s inclusion in the Olympics

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