Archery: Egypt and Kenya Win Gold at African Championship

Egypt once again showed it is the powerhouse of Africa in archery by winning four out of the six medals in the two individual recurve events at the 2016 African Archery Championship. The three highest ranked nations in each individual event will be given a spot to compete in the Olympics. The African Archery Championship was held in Windhoek, Namibia from January 29th to January 31st 2016.

Egypt was the best nation in the qualification round in the men’s individual recurve with all three of their athletes finishing in the top 5. Egypt’s Hady El-Kholosy won the top seed with a score of 636. In the elimination rounds El-Kholosy swept through his first two opponents, but required to win a tie-breaker against Zimbabwe’s Gavin Sutherland in the quarter-finals. In the semi-finals he had a narrow 6-4 win against his compatriot Mohammed Aly Amin to reach the final.

On the other half of the bracket it was second seed Ahmed El-Nemr whom reached the final. Like his compatriot his first two matches were simple wins. In the quarter-finals he defeated Rene Kouassi of Cote d’Ivoire 7-3 before meeting with South African Terence van Moerkerken in the semi-final. El-Nemr won the encounter in a close 6-4 match. In the final El-Nemr won the gold medal by defeating El-Kholosy 6-2.

Egypt and South Africa grabbed the men’s quotas by virtue of having someone in the semi-finals. The final quota went to Zimbabwe as Gavin Sutherland finished with a higher ranking over Cote d’Ivoire’s Rene Kouassi. It is very likely that South Africa will reject this quota since they do not accept quotas from continental championships. When the quota is formally rejected it will be reallocated to Cote d’Ivoire.

The women’s individual recurve was similarly dominated by Egypt with all three archers finishing in the top six, but it was Cote d’Ivoire’s Carla Frangilli whom finished as the top seed after the qualification round with a score of 579. Frangilli won her first two matches in a sweep, but lost in the semi-final to Kenya’s Shehzana Anwar 6-5.

The other semi-final was a clash between two Egyptians as a tie-breaker was required to give Reem Mansour the win over her compatriot and second seed Hania Fouda. Anwar defeated Mansour 6-2 to win the championship . Egypt, Kenya and Cote d’Ivoire gained the three quotas by virtue of having athletes reach the semi-finals.

African archers will get one more opportunity to qualify to the Olympics at the final Olympic qualification tournament to be held later this year. Also all African nations will get the opportunity to qualify a team of three athletes for the team event.


Quotas by Nations

  • Egypt – 2
  • Cote d’Ivoire – 1
  • Kenya – 1
  • South Africa – 1
  • Zimbabwe – 1



Handball: Germany Wins Second Men’s European Championship

Germany won its second title at the 2016 European Men’s Handball Championship. The 16-team tournament was split into two group stages. The first group stage had four groups of four teams where the top three advance to the next group stage. The teams and results were combined into two groups of six teams where the winners advance to the semi-finals. The highest ranked eligible team would qualify to the Olympics. The European Men’s Handball Championship was held in four cities throughout Poland with the final being held in Krakow from January 15th to January 31st 2016.

Poland would go on to win Group A though they didn’t look that dangerous with their narrow 29-28 and 24-23 wins over Serbia and Macedonia respectively. It was their 31-25 win over World Champions France in which they looked good. The loss left France as second in the group while Macedonia advanced over Serbia due to goal difference after the two teams tied 27-27.

Group B began well for Iceland as it defeated Norway in a narrow 26-25 match, but two loses against Belarus and Croatia left the team eliminated. Norway on the other hand won its matches against those teams and actually ended up winning the group. Croatia would claim second in the group over Belarus as it defeated the nation 27-21 on the first day of the group stage.

Group C was the closest group with the largest blowout over the six matches was Germany’s 25-21 win over Slovenia. That match ended up eliminating Slovenia as a 24-24 draw against Spain gave the team hope going into its final match. Spain would go to win the group with 32-29 and 24-22 wins over Germany and Sweden respectively. Germany grabbed second in the group with a comeback 27-26 win over Sweden.

Denmark topped Group D with three wins though was required to work for the win against Montenegro as the won the match 30-28. Despite that performance Montenegro would be eliminated from the tournament after failing to win a match. Russia finished second in the group though Hungary made a bit of a push at the end brining the lead down to one, but a last second shot was blocked thus giving Russia the 27-26 win.

In the second group stage it was Norway whom topped Group I. Last place Macedonia gave Norway the hardest match as they built up a five point lead with less than 15 minutes remaining. Norway was able to comeback from the deficit and even took a brief lead. Macedonia however, was able to hold on for the 31-31 tie. France lost the opportunity to defend its title as they lost their final game to Norway 29-24. Croatia needing a huge win over Poland to finish ahead of France and Poland did just so as they qualified to the semi-final with a 37-23 victory.

Group II came down to Denmark, Germany and Spain on the final day of the second group stage. The main match to watch was between Denmark and Germany. The match was a seesaw affair with neither team taking a lead of greater than two. Germany tied the match with four minutes remaining and was able to score the final two goals to win 25-23. Spain was able to qualify to the semi-final over Denmark with its win over Russia though the team had to endure a Russian push during the final 10 minutes, but they managed to win the match 25-23. As they tied in points Spain finished first in the group because it had previously defeated Germany.

The first semi-final was between Norway and Germany. Germany took an early four goal lead, but Norway was able to cut the lead down. For the rest of the match the lead between the two teams never rose by more than two as the two teams ended up finishing tied up at 27-27 by the final whistle. The first extra-time looked to have the same results, but a goal by Germany’s Kai Hafner with five seconds remaining gave the Germans a spot in the final with a final score of 34-33.

The other semi-final between Spain and Croatia began well for Croatia, but a poor second half of the first half not only gave Spain the opportunity to catch-up, but to build a 18-14 lead at the half. Croatia attempted to come back in the second half and got as close to a one goal deficit, but Spain was able to hold on to the lead and extend it to win the match 33-29.

The final began with Germany taking the lead over Spain and from there they would never relinquish it. At one point they held a nine point lead over Spain making the gap too enormous for Spain to ever catch-up. Germany won the European title and a spot at the Olympics by a score of 24-17. Croatia won the bronze medal over Norway via a score of 31-24.

This will be Germany’s tenth appearance at the Olympics in the men’s tournament. They will be looking to win their first medal since their silver medal performance in 2004. For the rest of Europe eight nations will get a second opportunity to qualify at one of the three final Olympic qualification tournaments. Poland, Spain, Denmark, Croatia, Slovenia and Macedonia are qualified based on their performance at the World Championship while Norway and Sweden qualified based on their performance at the European Championship.


Tournament Rankings

  1. Germany
  2. Spain
  3. Croatia
  4. Norway
  5. France
  6. Denmark
  7. Poland
  8. Sweden
  9. Russia
  10. Belarus
  11. Macedonia
  12. Hungary
  13. Iceland
  14. Slovenia
  15. Serbia
  16. Montenegro



Sailing: 10 Nations Qualify Boats After World Cup Miami

Ten nations qualified at least one boat at the 2016 Miami World Cup. The event doubled as the continental qualification events for the North America/Caribbean and Central/South America continents. While other nations from other continents competed only those nations were eligible to win quotas. The highest ranked eligible boat for each continent won a quota, except for the men’s RS:X where the top two from each continent was given a spot. The Miami World Cup was held in Miami, United States from January 25th to January 30th 2016.

Canada was the biggest winner at these qualifiers as they qualified boats in six events. However, three of them; men’s Finn, women’s RS:X and women’s 470 were because Canada was the only eligible nation. The other three boats in which they qualified were men’s RS:X, men’s 470 and mixed Nacra17. In total Canada will be competing in 9 out of the 10 events.

Speaking of completing quotas the United States will compete in all 10 events after they won quotas in the men’s RS:X, men’s 49er and women’s 49erFX. The two remaining quotas in the North America/Caribbean continent went to Mexico in men’s laser and Bermuda in women’s laser radial.

Chile was the biggest winner in the Central/South America continent. In total they qualified four boats; men’s 470, women’s 470, men’s 49er and women’s 49erFX in which they were the only eligible nation competing. In total they will be competing in five events at the Olympics.

Argentina was almost able to complete its set, but missed qualifying in the women’s 470. They did qualify in the men’s Finn and women’s RS:X. Venezuela also qualified multiple quotas with boats in the men’s RS:X and men’s laser. The remaining quotas went to Colombia in men’s RS:X, Peru in women’s laser radial and Uruguay in mixed Nacra17.

In the overall event the Netherlands were the best team, winning four medals including gold in the men’s RS:X and mixed Nacra17. Brazil also won two events in the men’s laser and men’s Finn. The other gold medallists were from Belgium (women’s laser radial), China (women’s 470), Great Britain (women’s RS:X), New Zealand (women’s 49erFX), Spain (men’s 49er) and United States (men’s 470)

This was the final opportunity for nations in these two continents to qualify to the Olympics. Currently we still have all of the European continental qualifiers remaining along with some events for nations in Africa and Asia.


Boats by Nations

  • Canada – 6
  • Chile – 4
  • United States – 3
  • Argentina – 2
  • Venezuela – 2
  • Bermuda – 1
  • Colombia – 1
  • Mexico – 1
  • Peru – 1
  • Uruguay – 1



Handball: Egypt Wins Men’s African Championship

Egypt grabbed its first title since 2008 at the 2016 African Men’s Handball Championship. The 12-team tournament was split into two groups of six teams where the top four advance to the quarter-finals. The winner of the tournament qualified to the Olympics. The African Men’s Handball Championship was held in Cairo, Egypt from January 21st to January 30th 2016.

Egypt topped Group A with a 100% record including defeating 2014 champion Algeria in a 22-18 match. Morocco grabbed third place of the group with a narrow 26-24 win over Cameroon while Cameroon grabbed the final spot with wins over Nigeria and Gabon.

Group B was won by Tunisia though they required a comeback in order to defeat Angola 23-21 on the final day of the group stage. Poor second halves were something that plagued Angola in the group stage as the team not only lost the lead to Tunisia, but lost a chunk of its lead to Republic of Congo and Congo DR. The Congo rivalry was quite apparent at this competition as the match went down to the wire with Congo DR winning over Republic of Congo 30-29. Republic of Congo clinched the final spot with a comeback against Libya. Even though the match ended in a 21-21 tie Republic of Congo advanced due to a better goal differential.

In the quarter-finals the favourites all ended up winning. Egypt and Algeria and no problems dispatching Republic of Congo (39-18) and Congo DR (34-25) respectively, Cameroon kept close with Tunisia, but Tunisia was able to win 24-20. The match of the round was between Angola and Morocco. The match was 9-9 at the half and remained close for pretty much the entire match, but it was Angola who walked to the semi-final with a 22-21 win.

The semi-finals showed both Egypt’s and Tunisia’s strength as both nations went up early and extended their lead over their opponents. Egypt defeated Angola 25-15 and Tunisia defeated Algeria 27-18.

The final was a close affair between Egypt and Tunisia. A stronger second half ended up benefiting Egypt as they won the tournament and a spot to the Olympics via a score of 21-19. Angola obtained the bronze medal with a 24-19 win over Algeria.

This will be Egypt’s sixth Olympics over the past seven Olympic tournaments. Tunisia will get a second opportunity to qualify to the Olympics at the final Olympic qualification tournament. They will be competing for one of two spots against Poland, Macedonia and Chile.


Tournament Rankings

  1. Egypt
  2. Tunisia
  3. Angola
  4. Algeria
  5. Cameroon
  6. Morocco
  7. Congo DR
  8. Congo
  9. Libya
  10. Nigeria
  11. Gabon
  12. Kenya



Football: Japan Wins 1st Asian Men’s U23 Title

Japan grabbed their first title at the 2016 Asian Men’s U23 Championship. The 16-team tournament was split into four groups of four teams where the top two advance to the quarter-finals. The top three nations qualified to the Olympics. The Asian Men’s U23 Championship was held in four stadiums across Doha, Qatar from January 12th to January 30th 2016.

Group A was won by Qatar as they went undefeated in their group games. The team relied on the scoring prowess of golden ball winner Ahmed Alaa and Abdelkarim Hassan whom combined scored eight out of Qatar’s nine goals. Iran confirmed its spot to the quarter-final where they managed to hold on against China to win 3-2.

Group B was similarly dominated by Japan whom won all three of its group games. The fight for the second spot was a three-way tie between North Korea, Saudi Arabia and Thailand as the three teams all tied each other. North Korea advanced as the second place team because they scored the most goals between the tied teams.

In Group C Iraq and South Korea claimed their spots to the quarter-finals a match early with wins over both Uzbekistan and Yemen. The match between the two to decide who finishes first was a very defensive one. South Korea’s Kim Hyun scored in the 22nd minute and it would look as if South Korea would win in a narrow match until Iraq’s Amjad Hussein scored in the second minute in stoppage time. Despite tying at the final moments South Korea still advanced as the top team due to having a better goal differential.

Group D was a three-way race going into the final match between Australia, Jordan and United Arab Emirates with Vietnam already eliminated. The match between Australia and Jordan ended up being very defensive. Jordan needed only a tie to advance, but Australia required a win to advance. Despite their advances Australia was never able to score its much needed goal and was eliminated by a 0-0 score. United Arab Emirates ended up winning the group with a 3-2 win over Vietnam, in a match that contained two penalty kicks and an own goal.

In the quarter-finals the first match between Japan and Iran went to extra-time after it was tied 0-0. Japan would end up scoring three goals during this period to win the match 3-0. Between Qatar and North Korea it looked as if Qatar would advance 1-0, but So Kyong-Jin scored during stoppage time to send the match to extra-time. The deadlock would be broken in the 92nd minute by Ali Assadalla which sent the hosts to the semi-finals.

The match between South Korea and Jordan was the only match which did not go to extra-time this round as South Korea’s Moon Chang-Jin scored in the 23rd minute to give South Korea the 1-0 win. The final match between United Arab Emirates and Iraq went to extra-time after the score remained 1-1. Iraq’s Mohannad Abdul-Raheem broke the deadlock at the 103rd minute and the nation added an insurance goal late into stoppage time to win the match 3-1.

Japan became the first nation to book a spot to the Olympics with its semi-final win over Iraq. The match was looking to head to extra time when Riki Harawaka scored in the dying seconds of the match, giving the nation a 2-1 victory. Similarly South Korea scored a goal in the 89th minute to give themselves a lead and were able to score another goal in stoppage time as Qatar pressed for an equalizer. South Korea reached the finals and qualified to the Olympics by a score of 3-1.

The final spot for the Olympics was decided in the bronze medal match between Qatar and Iraq. Qatar’s Ahmed Alaa scored the first goal at the 27th minute, but Iraq countered with a late 86th minute goal by Mohannad Abdul-Raheem to send the match into extra-time. Ayman Hussein’s goal at the 109th minute proved to be the difference maker for Iraq as they not only grabbed the bronze medal, but a spot at the Olympics.

In the final match South Korea took a 2-0 lead over Japan. However, two goals over less than two minutes tied the match with just over 20 minutes remaining. Japan’s Takuma Asano scored the deciding goal at the 81st minute to give Japan the title.

Japan and South Korea will be going into the Olympics in hopes of a similar performance to their 2012 campaign where they finished fourth and third respectively. For Iraq this will be their second trip to the Olympic Games, but they too will hope to repeat their performance from 2004 where they finished fourth.


Qualified Teams

  • Iraq
  • Japan
  • South Korea



Football: New Zealand Qualifies Women’s Team

A win and a withdrawal gave New Zealand the title at the 2016 OFC Women’s Olympic Qualification Tournament. The two team event was scheduled to be a two legged match where the team with the better aggregate score advanced to the Olympics. The OFC Women’s Olympic Qualification Tournament was held in Lae, Papua New Guinea and Auckland, New Zealand on January 23rd 2016 and January 26th 2016 respectively.

New Zealand automatically advanced to this stage while Papua New Guinea qualified to this match by winning gold in the women’s tournament held at the 2015 Pacific Games. The team went undefeated in the seven team tournament and only conceded one goal in the group stage. This was their fourth title in the four times the tournament was held at the Pacific Games.

The first match showed the gulf between New Zealand and the rest of the continent. While Papua New Guinea kept the game scoreless for a while New Zealand’s Amber Hearn scored the first goal at the 20th minute. From there New Zealand would go on to score a total of seven times. Papua New Guinea got a consolation goal at the 79th minute from Meagen Gunemba, but the match ended as a 7-1 blowout.

The second match to be held in New Zealand was cancelled due to visa problems among the Papua New Guinea players. FIFA later confirmed that the match will not be rescheduled thus giving New Zealand the quota to the Olympics. Further discipline by FIFA in the future may be given due to this withdrawal.

This will be New Zealand’s third Olympics in a row for this event. They will be looking to repeat their 2012 performance where they qualified to the quarterfinals.


Tournament Rankings

  1. New Zealand
  2. Papua New Guinea



Water Polo: Serbia Continues Dominant Streak By Winning European Champs

Serbia continues its dominant streak at the 2016 Men’s European Water Polo Championship by winning its third title in a row. The 16-team tournament was split into four groups of four teams. This round was used to determine the seeding for the teams as everyone advanced to the knock-out stage. The highest ranked not yet qualified nation qualified to the Olympics. The Men’s European Water Polo Championship was held in Belgrade, Serbia from January 10th to January 23rd 2016.

Montenegro and Spain were the expected leaders of Group A. On their encounter no team had much of a lead as the match ended tied 8-8. Spain would go on to win the group due to a better goal difference. The Netherlands finished third in the group with a narrow 6-5 win over Slovakia.

Serbia would go undefeated in Group B which included a match against rival Croatia. The match wouldn’t live up to the hype as Serbia went up 7-3 by half-time and won the match 13-6. France would take third in the group as they defeated Malta 17-7.

Italy was the clear top team in Group C as they won all of their matches with relative ease. Georgia almost caused an upset against Germany as they took an early lead in the match. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter where Germany was able to put the match away to win 11-9. The fight for second place of the group was the final match in the group between Germany and Romania. The teams were essentially equal throughout the match. A 3-2 win for Romania in the second quarter ended up being the difference maker as Romania would take second in the group with a 14-13 win over Germany.

Group D had three teams that could potentially win the group. The group began with an 8-8 draw between Hungary and Greece as both teams were essentially equal throughout the match. While Russia took an early 4-1 lead over Hungary in the first quarter the rest of the match belonged to Hungary as Russia only scored two more goals while Hungary scored eleven to win the match 12-6. The final match of the group between Greece and Russia began with both teams going even. Greece took an 8-6 lead going into the final quarter, but a 3-0 performance by Russia gave it a 9-8 win. This would mean Hungary won the group, Russia finished second and Greece would advance as the third place team.

The round of 16 was rather uneventful as almost all of the higher seeded nations won their match. The only seeding upset was Greece’s 15-9 win over Romania though on paper Greece was easily the favourite to win that match.

In the quarterfinals Greece did just enough to extend its lead to defeat Spain 6-2 while Serbia scored the blowout of the round, easily taking out Russia 15-5. Both Montenegro and Hungary were able to stay one step ahead of Italy and Croatia respectively to advance to the semifinals with a score of 10-7 and 8-5 respectively.

The semi-finals had Serbia power through Greece in a 13-7 win as the nation reached its fifth European Championship final since it became an independent nation. The other semi-final match had big implication for the Olympics as the winner of the match would also book their spot to the Olympics. Montenegro would grab a narrow lead, winning 4-3 at half-time. Hungary was able to keep the match close until the final quarter where Montenegro was able to extend its lead and book a spot to the Olympics as they won the match 8-5.

The final would see Montenegro take an early lead though Serbia made sure to never let Montenegro gain too large of a lead. Going into the final quarter the match was tied 6-6. In the final quarter Serbia would score three unanswered goals though Montenegro would answer back by cutting the lead by two. With 26 seconds remaining Serbia would score another goal to put the match out of reach, winning the championship 10-8. Hungary won the bronze medal by navigating a 13-10 win over Greece.

Serbia is currently on a 30-0 winning streak across all major competitions, the last time they lost was back in the 2013 World Aquatic Championships. No doubt Serbia will be the heavy favourite going into the Olympics. This will be Montenegro’s third Olympics in a row as an independent nation. They will be looking to win their first medal after finishing fourth over the past two Olympics.

As for the other European nations many of them will get a second opportunity to qualify at the final Olympic qualification tournament. Initially only the top four not yet qualified nations plus hosts Italy would qualify, namely Hungary, Spain, Russia and France, however, withdrawals from other continents have given more spots to Europe. While not officially confirmed it is likely we will see Romania, Germany, Netherlands and Slovakia compete in the final qualification tournament.


Tournament Rankings

  1. Serbia
  2. Montenegro
  3. Hungary
  4. Greece
  5. Spain
  6. Italy
  7. Croatia
  8. Russia
  9. France
  10. Romania
  11. Germany
  12. Netherlands
  13. Slovakia
  14. Georgia
  15. Malta
  16. Turkey



Cycling Road: South Korea Wins Women’s Road Race in Sprint at Asian Champs

South Korea won in a sprint finish in the women’s road race event at the 2016 Asian Cycling Championship. The highest ranked eligible nation qualifies to the Olympics. The Asian Cycling Championship was held in Oshima, Japan from January 20th to January 24th 2016.

The race began with 40 riders on the start line. As the race progressed only four people remained in the lead group; Pu Yixian of China, Japan’s Mayuko Hagiwara and Eri Yonamine and South Korea’s Na Ah Reum. The race would come down to a sprint finish as Na crossed the finish line to win gold and the Olympic berth. Pu finished in second while Hagiwara won the bronze.

As a reminder the world rankings which will be published at the end of May will have priority so should South Korea qualify through that then the next highest ranked nation will qualify. Looking at the current rankings it is doubtful that South Korea will gain enough points, but if they do the spot will then be reallocated to China.


Quotas by Nations

  • South Korea – 1



Water Polo: Hungary Wins Women’s European Championship

Hungary won its first title in 15 years at the 2016 Women’s European Water Polo Championship. The 12-team tournament was split into two groups of six teams where the top four advance to the quarterfinals. The winner of the tournament qualified to the Olympics. The Women’s European Water Polo Championship was held in Belgrade, Serbia from January 10th to January 22nd 2016.

Group A was won by the Netherlands whom went undefeated in the group including a 4-0 rally in the fourth quarter to win 11-10 over Greece. Despite Greece’s performance in that match losses to Hungary and Russia meant they finished fourth in the group, just enough to advance. Second place for the group came down to Hungary and Russia on the final match of the group. Hungary would jump up to a strong 6-2 lead by half-time and while Russia would mount a strong comeback in the fourth quarter Hungary was able to hold onto to second place of the group and win the match 11-10.

The top two places in Group B went to Italy and Spain. In their match held on the final day of the group stage Italy was able to hold a slim lead for most of the match winning in a close 9-8 affair. Hosts Serbia failed to reach the quarterfinals after narrowly losing to Germany and France 14-13 and 7-6 respectively. France grabbed third place in the group by defeating Germany 12-3 where they dominated for pretty much the entire match.

In the quarterfinals Italy went up 4-0 by half-time against Greece and coasted to a 10-4 win. Netherlands and Hungary thrashed Germany and France respectively to win 19-2 and 18-6 respectively. A dominant second quarter by Spain where they went 5-0 against Russia was the difference maker in their 12-8 win to advance to the semifinals.

The Netherlands and Spain match in the semi-final was very close with neither team holding much of a lead for any extended period of time. Once the match ended the game was tied 9-9 and a penalty shoot-out was required. A save in the seventh attempt by goalkeeper Laura Aarts sent Netherlands to the finals as they won the shoot-out 6-5. In the other semi-final Hungary held a bit of a lead over Italy, but a 3-0 third quarter gave Hungary the gap it needed to safely win the match 10-5.

The final was almost a stalemate as Netherlands led Hungary 5-4 at half-time. Hungary would then tie things up in the third quarter leaving the match to be decided in the final quarter. Hungary would score two unanswered goals to win the tournament and Olympic quota 9-7. Italy won the bronze medal over Spain by a score of 10-9.

Hungary will be looking to improve its fourth place finishes it has incurred over the past two Olympics, hoping to win its first ever medal in the event. All is not over for the other European nations as Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Greece and Russia have all qualified to the final qualification tournament. More nations could possibly qualify should nations from other continents withdraw.


Tournament Rankings

  1. Hungary
  2. Netherlands
  3. Italy
  4. Spain
  5. Greece
  6. Russia
  7. France
  8. Germany
  9. Serbia
  10. Portugal
  11. Croatia
  12. Turkey



Taekwondo: European Nations Qualify After European Qualifying Event

13 nations were able to qualify one athlete at the 2016 European Olympic Qualification Tournament. The two finalists from each of the eight events qualified to the Olympics. This was also the first event in which refugees could attempt to qualify under the Olympic banner. Nations were only allowed to send two athletes per gender to this event, minus any qualified through the world rankings. The European Olympic Qualification Tournament was held in Istanbul, Turkey from January 16th to January 17th 2016.

Four events were held on the first day. In the men’s -58kg it was former world junior champion and current European Games silver medalist Jesus Tortsa of Spain which grabbed the first quota though he was made to work for it as he narrowly defeated Meisam Rafiei of Iceland and required a comeback to win over Serbia’s Milos Gladovic in the semi-final. A last second comeback was also required for Israel’s Ron Attias to win the second quota as he was able to deliver a quick kick before time expired. Attias defeated Tortsa in the final 3-2.

The men’s -68kg was dominated by Poland’s Karol Robak whom won all four of his matches by double digits to secure his nation a spot in the event. The other semi-final match was a repeat match from the 2012 European Qualification Tournament between Serbia’s Damir Fejzic and Croatia’s Filip Grgic. This time Grgic was able to get some form of revenge for his loss as he was able to secure Olympic qualification for his nation by winning the match 16-9.

Two former 2012 Olympians met in the semi-final of the women’s -67kg event. The match was between Farida Azizova of Azerbaijan and Slovenia’s Franka Anic. In a very defensive minded match both athletes finished scoreless. The match would be decided by the judges where Azizova won through superiority. The second semi-final was won by Germany’s Rabia Gulec whom defeated Moldova’s Ana Ciuchitu 5-3. Azizova won the tournament winning narrowly 1-0against Gulec.

The surprise performance of the day went to Norway’s Tina Skaar in the women’s +67kg. She was able to defeat world bronze medalists Nafia Kus and Olga Ivanova to secure her nation a spot at the Olympics. The second Olympic quota went to the Netherlands as Reshmie Oogink only had to defeat a single opponent due to getting a bye in the first round. She defeated 2012 Olympian Nusa Rajher of Slovenia 7-1 to reach the finals. Skaar would win the tournament with a 4-1 win over Oogink.

On the second day the other four events were played out to completion. In the men’s -80kg it was Poland’s Piotr Pazinski and Azerbaijan’s Milad Beigi whom won quotas for their nations with semi-final victories over Richard Ordermann of Norway and Yunus Sari of Turkey respectively. Beigi won the final over Pazinski in a 14-2 blowout.

Italy’s Carlo Molfetta will not be able to defend his Olympic title as he lost in the semi-finals to Great Britain’s Mahama Cho. The second quota went to Belarus where Arman-Marshall Silla defeated Slovenia’s Ivan Trajkovic 7-5 to reach the final. Cho won the tournament over Silla by a score of 4-2.

The women’s -49kg saw 2015 World -46kg silver medalist Iryna Romoldanova of Ukraine lose a narrow 3-1 match to Azerbaijan’s Patimat Abakarova whom qualified her nation to the Olympics. The second quota went to Serbia as Tijana Bogdanovic defeated Italy’s Erica Nicoli 11-4. Abakoarova won the final match over Boganovic 6-5.

While three refugees competed in the tournament the only one seen with a chance at qualifying was Raheleh Asemani, an Iran citizen and 2010 Asian Games silver medalist currently living in Belgium. Asemani lived up to the expectation as she won the entire -57kg tournament and qualified to the Olympics. Joining her was Finland’s Suvi Mikkonen whom defeated Germany’s Anna-Lena Fromming 9-8 in the semi-finals to book her nation a spot.

This was the final opportunity for European nations to qualify to the Olympics. The other continents will have their opportunity to qualify over the coming months.


Quotas by Nations

  • Azerbaijan – 3
  • Poland – 2
  • Belarus – 1
  • Croatia – 1
  • Finland – 1
  • Germany – 1
  • Great Britain – 1
  • Individual Olympic Athletes – 1
  • Israel – 1
  • Netherlands – 1
  • Norway – 1
  • Poland – 1
  • Serbia – 1
  • Spain – 1