Chinese judokas back to training after 2020 Olympic qualifier pull out
After pulling out of last weekend's Paris Grand Slam due to the ongoing coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak, China's men's and women's national judo teams are back in training in Beijing.
Unfazed by the epidemic and the resulting withdrawal, the PRC brigade has turned their focus to future competitions, as squad members look to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.
The Chinese judokas have been staying in shape through intense practice sessions in the capital, with the support staff who perform essential duties like checking everybody's temperature and treating any injuries that occur, wearing masks at their assigned stations on the edge of the mats.
With members of the team being unable to get visas for last weekend's Paris Grand Slam in the French capital, they missed one of the biggest opportunities to gain points in the race to reach Tokyo. The Chinese athletes are now pinning their hopes on events scheduled for April and May.
Meanwhile, the International Judo Federation has held an emergency meeting to discuss how the coronavirus outbreak might affect Olympic qualification, and suggested that the organizers increase the number of slots available at the Summer Games, so that athletes from China and any other affected countries are not adversely impacted.
Xiong Fengshan, the General Administration of Sport Deputy Director, said: "Due to the coronavirus outbreak, we missed the competition in France, and are instead using this time to focus on physical and technical training. There will be more chances to earn Olympic qualifying points in April and May, so we still have opportunities. We just need to stay in top form to get better results and qualify through those later events."