Taekwondo: 25 Nations Qualify Through Olympic Rankings

In total 25 nations qualified 48 quotas based on the Taekwondo Olympic Rankings. The top six athletes from each weight class qualified their nation to the Olympics, with a maximum of one athlete per nation per weight class. The final event which gave ranking points was the Grand Prix Final held in Mexico City, Mexico from December 5th to December 6th 2015.

The Olympic rankings were constructed in a weighted system through eligible events ranging from 2012 to 2015 with events taking place in 2015 having more weight. Eligible events included the 2012 Olympics, World Championships, Grand Prix, Continental Championships, various Multi-Sport Games and various G2 and G1 level tournaments.

One of the major changes in qualification in taekwondo was that nations can qualify athletes in all four events in each gender through the Olympic Rankings. Previously nations can only qualify a maximum of two athletes per gender between the four events. This gave stronger nations an opportunity to qualify more athletes. Through this method France was able to qualify three women, Iran qualified three men and South Korea qualified three men.

The final quotas will be decided at the continental qualifiers to be held in 2016. Nations which do not have two athletes per gender can participate to qualify the continental maximum of two athletes per gender.

Update 13 Jan 2016: Brazil and Chinese Taipei have both withdrawn in the women’s -49kg and women’s -57kg events respectively. Therefore the next highest ranked nations have qualified, specifically Mexico and Sweden respectively.


Qualification Per Event

Women’s -49kg

  1. China
  2. Croatia
  3. France
  4. Thailand
  5. South Korea
  6. Mexico


Women’s -57kg

  1. Great Britain
  2. Spain
  3. Egypt
  4. Japan
  5. Croatia
  6. Sweden


Women’s -67kg

  1. France
  2. Sweden
  3. Chinese Taipei
  4. South Korea
  5. Russia
  6. Turkey


Women’s +67kg

  1. China
  2. Serbia
  3. Great Britain
  4. United States
  5. France
  6. Mexico


Men’s -58kg

  1. South Korea
  2. Iran
  3. Portugal
  4. Germany
  5. Mexico
  6. Belgium


Men’s -68kg

  1. South Korea
  2. Russia
  3. Belgium
  4. Mexico
  5. Turkey
  6. Spain


Men’s -80kg

  1. Iran
  2. Moldova
  3. Great Britain
  4. Russia
  5. Germany
  6. Ivory Coast


Men’s +80kg

  1. Uzbekistan
  2. Azerbaijan
  3. Iran
  4. Gabon
  5. France
  6. South Korea


Quotas by Nations

  • South Korea – 5
  • France – 4
  • Mexico – 4
  • Great Britain – 3
  • Iran – 3
  • Russia – 3
  • Belgium – 2
  • China – 2
  • Croatia – 2
  • Germany – 2
  • Spain – 2
  • Sweden – 2
  • Turkey – 2
  • Azerbaijan – 1
  • Chinese Taipei – 1
  • Brazil – 1
  • Egypt – 1
  • Gabon – 1
  • Ivory Coast – 1
  • Japan – 1
  • Moldova – 1
  • Portugal – 1
  • Serbia – 1
  • Thailand – 1
  • United States – 1
  • Uzbekistan – 1




Handball: Norway Wins 3rd Title At Women’s World Championship

Norway was able to win their third title and now holds the three highest titles (World, European and Olympics) of handball at the same time with their win at the 2015 Women’s Handball World Championship. 24 teams were split into four groups of six teams where the top four advanced to the round of 16 in a single elimination tournament. The World Championships were held in over four different cities with the final being held in Herning, Denmark from December 5th to December 20th 2015.

Group A was topped by Montenegro though the campaign had a slow start as they lost a point in the first match when Serbia unexpectedly tied 28-28. Hungary would finish second in the group with wins over Denmark and Serbia as Denmark finished third in the group. The final advancing spot went to Serbia as they were able to secure two wins over Japan and Tunisia over their final two group games.

Netherlands and Sweden ended up in a tie for first place in Group B after Sweden came back from being down after halftime to tie the match 28-28. Netherlands would end up with first place due to a better goal differential. Poland finished third in the group though were made to work with it by winning by five goals over China and Cuba and needing a comeback to defeat Angola 29-27. They did look impressive in their one goal lose against Sweden, however. Angola would grab the final spot by defeating China 32-29 on the final group stage day.

Defending champions Brazil would have a slow start in Group C as they tied South Korea 24-24. The defending champions would end up topping the group though not as comfortably as they would like as they narrowly defeated Germany, Argentina and France. France was also shocked a bit by South Korea as they tied 22-22, but three wins and a single goal loss to Brazil was enough to take second in the group. Both Germany and South Korea ended up tied for the final two spots in the group, but Germany defeated South Korea 40-28 to win the tie breaker.

Group D was won by Russia as they won all five of their matches including over European champion Norway in a narrow 26-25 match and European runner-up Spain 28-26. Norway would take second over Spain as they defeated Spain on the final group stage day by a score of 29-26. Romania was the final team to reach the elimination round though they gathered their necessary wins over Puerto Rico and Kazakhstan during their first two matches.

The largest upset during the round of 16 was Romania’s win over Brazil. Romania started with a barrage of goals to lead 13-8 at halftime. Brazil made an attempt to comeback, but Romania would hold on to win 25-22. Other big moments in this round were come from behind wins by France and Poland as they won 22-21 and 24-23 over Spain and Hungary respectively despite being down at halftime.

The quarterfinals featured close matches all around as Netherlands, Poland and Norway defeated France, Russia and Montenegro 28-25, 21-20 and 26-25 respectively. The match between Denmark and Romania went to overtime as the two teams tied 27-27 at the final whistle. In the end it was Romania whom caused another upset to advance to the semifinals by a score of 31-30.

The first semi-final between Netherlands and Poland began with Netherlands taking a strong lead where they led 15-8 by halftime. Poland was never able to recover from the deficit as Netherlands qualified to the finals by a score of 30-25. In the other match Norway was able to take a bit of a lead over Romania, however, Romania would again force overtime after the match tied 27-27. Norway would this time get the better over Romania as they won the match 35-33 to advance to the finals.

The final was almost a mismatch as everything went right for Norway as they stormed to a 20-9 lead by halftime. While the Netherlands would prevent the gap from enlarging they would never close the gap by anything significant as Norway would go on to win the world title and an Olympic quota by a score of 31-25. Romania took the bronze medal after defeating Poland 31-22.

Since Norway was the European Champion and the World Champion takes priority the runner-up in the European Championship will now take the spot, in this case Spain. The World Championship also decided a lot of teams which will participate in one of the final Olympic qualification tournaments. Teams ranked from second to seventh (Netherlands, Romania, Poland, Russia, Denmark and France) have now assured their spot in that tournament while Europe and the Americas were given a second team spot to compete in those tournaments for being the top two continents at the World Championships. To be more specific the other six teams which will join the above six will be Sweden, Montenegro, Uruguay, Mexico, Japan and Tunisia.


Tournament Rankings

  1. Norway
  2. Netherlands
  3. Romania
  4. Poland
  5. Russia
  6. Denmark
  7. France
  8. Montenegro
  9. Sweden
  10. Brazil
  11. Hungary
  12. Spain
  13. Germany
  14. South Korea
  15. Serbia
  16. Angola
  17. China
  18. Argentina
  19. Japan
  20. Puerto Rico
  21. Tunisia
  22. Kazakhstan
  23. Cuba
  24. Congo DR



Water Polo: China and Japan Win Asian Qualification Tournaments

China and Japan qualified their women’s and men’s team respectively by winning the Asian Water Polo Olympic Qualification Tournament. The men’s tournament featured five teams playing in a round robin format with the highest ranked team qualifying to the Olympics. The women’s tournament had two teams playing a two game series where the team with the highest aggregate score qualifying to the Olympics. The Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament was held in Foshan, China from December 16th to December 20th 2015.

The women’s tournament was a two legged affair between China and Japan. In the first match China was able to create a lead and was leading by 7-3 at half-time. In the third quarter Japan cut the lead by one to trail 9-6 going into the final quarter. China however was able to counter Japan’s offensive and was able to put away Japan to win the first game by a score of 14-8.

In the second game China again built up a bit of a lead and was leading 6-3 at half-time. The rest of the match was quite defensive as neither China extended nor Japan cut the lead for any large length in time. China would win the second game with a score of 9-6 and qualified to the Olympics with an aggregate of 23-14.

In the men’s tournament the favourites to qualify were China, Japan and Kazakhstan. 2014 Asian Games champions Kazakhstan had a setback on the second day where a bad first quarter against Japan ultimately cost them the match as they were unable to recover over the game as they went on to lose 9-8. Kazakhstan would ultimately be eliminated from competition in its match against China. Over the match China would slowly build up its lead and was winning 7-4 going into the final quarter. While Kazakhstan attempted to comeback they were ultimately unable to as China would go on to with the match 10-8.

The final match of the round robin tournament between China and Japan ended up being the deciding match for Olympics qualification. Japan would go and take the sole Olympic quota by defeating China in a score of 16-10

This will be China women’s third Olympics in a row as they will be looking to improve on their two fifth place finishes. For Japan’s men this will be their eighth Olympic appearance, but this will be their first time competing since the 1984 Olympics. Japan’s women and China and Kazakhstan’s men will have a second opportunity to qualify to the Olympics at the final Olympic qualification tournament to be held in 2016.


Women’s Tournament Rankings

  1. China
  2. Japan


Men’s Tournament Rankings

  1. Japan
  2. China
  3. Kazakhstan
  4. Iran
  5. Saudi Arabia



Rugby Sevens: South Africa Women Withdraws, Kenya Women In

South Africa has formally withdrew its spot in the rugby sevens women’s tournament at the Olympics. This development is not surprising as the nation has tough qualification rules where their athletes cannot qualify through continental qualification events. The same thing has happened earlier to their field hockey teams and it could happen to their men’s football team as their qualification rules state that they must win the continental tournament because their is no world qualification phase.

The women’s spot has been to reallocated to the next highest ranked team at the African qualification tournament, Kenya. This also boosts Madagascar into the final qualification tournament to be held in 2016.


Sailing: Reallocation Galore at Oceania Qualifiers

Reallocation quotas were the big theme at the first leg of the 2015-16 Sailing World Cup. The event doubled as the Oceania continental qualification event. The top ranked eligible Oceania nation would qualify to the Olympics. The first leg of the Sailing World Cup was held in Melbourne, Australia from December 9th to December 13th 2015.

With New Zealand already qualified in all ten events, Australia qualified in nine events and the other Oceania nations not participating in most events there were no eligible nations for the quota to be given to. Funny enough the one event Australia was not qualified in ended up being cancelled. The reallocation process meant that the highest eligible nation at the 2015 World Championships for the event would qualify. This happened in eight out of the ten events. The reallocated quotas went to China (men’s 470), Croatia (men’s 49er), Italy (men’s finn), Norway (women’s 49erFX), Spain (women’s 470), Ukraine (men’s RS:X) and the United States (women’s RS:X and mixed nacra17). Also because China is now qualified through the 2015 Worlds in the men’s 470 its original continental quota has now been reallocated to South Korea.

The only quotas that went to Oceania nations were the men’s laser and women’s laser radial. However, only one eligible nation participated and by completing the event the Cook Islands are now qualified in the two events.

There was some expectation that this might happen when ISAF created continental qualifiers for this Olympics, but I think this was more about Australia’s and New Zealand’s performances at the 2014 and 2015 World Championships. It’s a shame that the men’s RS:X event was not held as it prevented Australia from entering a full fleet. This was the final opportunity for Oceania nations to qualify in any sailing events.


Boats by Nations

  • Cook Islands – 2
  • United States – 2
  • Croatia – 1
  • Italy – 1
  • Norway – 1
  • South Korea – 1
  • Spain – 1
  • Ukraine – 1



Football: Nigeria Wins Men’s U23 Africa Cup of Nations

Nigeria went undefeated in the Men’s Football U23 Africa Cup of Nations. Eight teams were split into two groups of four nations with the top two nations advancing to the semifinals. The three medalists were given teams to compete in the men’s tournament at the Olympics. The U23 Africa Cup of Nations was held in Dakar and M’Bour, Senegal from November 28th to December 12th 2015.

In Group A Senegal topped the group by winning all three matches by a combined score of 6-1. The fight for the final spot to the semifinals was between South Africa and Tunisia in the final match of the group. The match was looking to finish in a nil-nil draw when South Africa’s Menzi Masuku scored in the 85th minute to give his nation the victory.

Group B was a lot less straight forward. In their first two matches Egypt drew Algeria and Nigeria 1-1 and 2-2 respectively. In its final match Egypt required a 2-0 victory over Mali or for Algeria and Nigeria to have a winner. The Algeria/Nigeria match was a defensive affair as the two nations played to a 0-0 draw. Egypt was unable to get its two goals and instead conceded a goal as Mali’s Souleymane Coulibaly scored the only goal in the 18th minute.

Nigeria was the first team to book its spot to the Olympics as a penalty kick from Etebo Oghenekaro gave them a 1-0 win over Senegal. Algeria joined Nigeria to the Olympics by scoring relatively early goals at the beginning of each half to win 2-0 over South Africa.

The third place play-off and the final Olympic spot had to go to penalty kicks as both Senegal and South Africa played to a 0-0 draw. With multiple misses on both sides it was South Africa that won the game and Olympic spot on their fifth attempt as they won the penalty kicks by 3-1. In the final match top scorer Etebo Oghenekaro scored two goals to win the title 2-1 over Algeria.

This will be Nigeria’s seventh Olympic appearance in men’s football where they will be looking to repeat their gold medal performance from 1996. Algeria and South Africa will return for their second tournament. South Africa’s spot is not completely confirmed as their nation has set strict qualification standards. In football they had to win the tournament in order for the South African Olympic Committee to agree to their participation. Should South Africa withdraw then Senegal will be given the spot as they were the next highest ranked team.


Tournament Rankings

  1. Nigeria
  2. Algeria
  3. South Africa
  4. Senegal
  5. Mali
  6. Tunisia
  7. Egypt
  8. Zambia



Diving: Australia Sweep at Oceania Diving Championship

Australia was able to sweep the diving events at the 2015 Oceania Diving Championship. One quota was up for grabs at each of the individual events to the winner provided the athlete has not already qualified its nation in that specific event or the nation already has two athletes. In something a bit different relative to other sports the quota would not be reallocated to the next best athlete should the first place athlete not be eligible. The Oceania Diving Championship was held in Melbourne, Australia from December 12th to December 13th 2015.

In the men’s 3m springboard it was Australia’s James Connor who finished ahead in the preliminary round with a score of 438.80 as he just edged out his compatriot Grant Nel whom finished with a score of 438.00. Third place Matthew Mitcham of Australia moved up into first place in the semifinals as he finished with a score of 435.70. In the final James Connor did not participate as he already qualified to the Olympics and Australia was more focus on winning the quota. It was Nel whom won the gold medal and a quota for his nation as he finished with a score of 490.00. Mitcham won the silver with a score of 482.30 while New Zealand’s Liam Stone won the bronze after he finished with a score of 442.85.

The preliminary round of the women’s 10m platform was dominated by Australia’s Brittany Broben as she finished with 351.45 points, over 60 points ahead of her compatriot Emily Meaney. However, a poor performance in the semifinals by Broben gave Meaney the top position going into the final. Broben was able to regain her fine form to win the gold and Olympic quota for her nation with a score of 364.70. Australia swept the medal standings as Teju Williamson and Annarose Keating won the silver and bronze medals with a score of 313.85 and 312.75 respectively.

The women’s 3m springboard was led by Anabelle Smith over the three rounds. She was able to win the gold medal with a score of 330.95. However, since Australia already won two quotas at the World Aquatics Championship no one was given a quota in this event. Australia was also able to sweep the medal standings as Georgia Sheehan and Jayah Mathews won the silver and bronze medals with a score of 326.10 and 297.50 respectively.

Australia’s James Connor was in a class of his own in the men’s 10m platform. He dominated the three rounds and won gold and an Olympic quota for his nation with a score of 490.15. Compatriots Kurtis Mathews and Nick Jeffree won the silver and bronze medals with a score of 395.20 and 389.10.

Australia now has a full set of quotas in the individual events. Australia will be looking to fill out its synchronized diving roster and the rest of the continent will attempt to qualify individual divers at the Diving World Cup to be held in 2016.


Quotas by Nations

  • Australia – 3