South Korean athletes who've already qualified for the Tokyo Summer Games won't have to do so again, even though the competition has been postponed, their national Olympic committee said Wednesday.
The Korean Sport & Olympic Committee (KSOC) said International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach assured leaders of national Olympic bodies last week that athletes would not be required to requalify even if the Olympics were rescheduled.
Faced with the global coronavirus pandemic, the IOC and Tokyo's organizers agreed on Tuesday to move the Olympics to beyond 2020 but no later than summer of 2021.
The status of athletes and teams that have already secured their Olympic places was among the many questions that weren't immediately answered. By the IOC's estimate, 57 percent of athletes have qualified.
The remaining 43 percent includes athletes in judo, wrestling, fencing, badminton, swimming and athletics, among others. Their qualifying events have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The KSOC said South Korea had secured 157 places for the Olympics as of March 10, with hopes of winning up to 60 more. The 157 includes 24 for baseball, 18 for men's football and 12 for women's volleyball -- sports where athletes who helped the country qualify for the Olympics won't necessarily compete in the Olympics.
The IOC will be working with international federations of Olympic sports to determine new qualifying procedures. (Yonhap)