Football: Intercontinental Match Decides Final Men’s Team

The final spot in the men’s football tournament was decided at an Intercontinental play-off. The match was between the third place nation from CONCACAF’s Olympic qualifier, United States and the second place nation from CONMEBOL’s Olympic qualifier, Colombia. The format was a two-legged play-off at each nation with the nation with the highest aggregate score qualifying to the Olympics. The first leg was held in Barranquilla, Colombia on March 25th 2015 and the second leg was held in Frisco, United States on March 29th 2015.

The first match saw an early goal from the United States by Luis Gil as he scored in the fifth minute. Colombia was able to counter in the 67th minute via a penalty kick from Juan Fernando Quintero. The match remained a 1-1 draw as the final whistle blew meaning the winner of the second match will qualify to the Olympics with the United States holding a precious away goal.

The second match had Colombia taking the lead with a goal by Roger Martinez in the 30th minute, however, disaster struck as the ball struck Deiver Machado leading to an own goal in the 57th minute, tying up the game. Colombia would again take the lead seven minutes later as Martinez scored for a second time. Colombia would hold onto the lead winning the match 2-1 and winning the two legged play-off series by an aggregate score of 3-2.

Colombia is the final team to qualify in men’s football as all 16 teams have now been decided. This will be Colombia’s fifth appearance in this event and its first since 1992. They will be looking to reach at least the quarter-finals for the first time.


Quotas by Nations

  • Colombia – 1 team, 18 athletes




Water Polo: Women’s Tournament Finalized After Final Qualification Tournament

The final four women’s teams have been decided at the 2016 Women’s Water Polo Olympic Qualification Tournament. 12 teams were split into two groups with the top four advancing to the quarter-finals. The top four teams qualified to the Olympics. The Women’s Water Polo Olympic Qualification Tournament was held in Gouda, Netherlands from March 21st to March 28th 2016.

Group A was topped by 2012 Olympic and 2015 World champions United States whom went undefeated in five games. Greece would take second in the group by holding on to a 14-11 win over Spain and defeating Canada 11-4. A strong second half for Spain in their match against Canada locked third place for them as Canada took the final spot to the quarter-final after wins against Japan and South Africa.

Group B had three teams which could vie for the top spot; Italy, Netherlands and Russia. The Netherlands made the group interesting with back to back 8-8 draws against Russia and Italy, which included blowing a four goal lead in the final quarter against Russia. On the final day the match between Italy and Russia was a very defensive affair, but it was Italy which did just enough to win the match 6-2. With the win Italy finished on top of the group, Netherlands finished second and Russia finished third. The final spot came down to France and Germany as the two nations defeated New Zealand earlier in the group stage. In the end France won the match 9-5 and advanced to the quarter-final.

The winners of the quarter-finals booked their spots to the Olympics. The United States easily dominated their match winning 19-0 against France. On the other hand a shoot-out was required for Greece and Russia as the game ended in a 10-10 draw. In the end Russia won the shoot-out 3-2. A strong first quarter for Spain was the difference maker in the match against the Netherlands as Spain won the match 10-7. The final match between Canada and Italy had Italy take the slight advantage and while Canada pressed for a comeback during the final quarter Italy was able to hold on for an 8-7 win.

The United States again showed its strength in the semi-finals as they defeated Spain 13-7 to reach the finals. Italy again continued to showcase its defensive prowess as they did just enough to defeat Russia for a second time as they won 9-7.

In the final between United States and Italy the match had both sides pressing as the score became 5-5 by half-time. A strong third quarter by the United States gave them the gap they needed to win the match and as they continued to extend the lead to win the tournament 11-6. Russia won the bronze medal by defeating Spain 10-4.

With the end of this tournament the 8 teams to compete in the Olympics have been decided. The United States will likely be going into the Olympic tournament as the favourite to win the gold medal. The men’s teams will be decided over the next couple of weeks.


Tournament Rankings

  1. United States
  2. Italy
  3. Russia
  4. Spain
  5. Netherlands
  6. Greece
  7. Canada
  8. France
  9. Japan
  10. Germany
  11. New Zealand
  12. South Africa



Table Tennis: Australia Top Oceania Qualifier

Australia has shown it is the top nation in table tennis at the 2016 Oceania Table Tennis Championship which also featured the Oceania Olympic Qualification Tournament. Three spots per gender were up for grab with a nation only allowed to qualify a maximum of two athletes per gender. The Oceania Table Tennis Championship was held in Bendigo, Australia from March 22nd to March 25th 2016.

The format of the tournament was a bit complicated. Using the rankings from the recently completed Oceania Championship the top two entrants faced off each other with the winner qualifying to the Olympics. The loser would play against the winner of the 3 vs. 4 match for the second Olympic quota. For the third Olympic quota the path was the winner of the 5 vs. 6 match played against the loser of the 3 vs. 4 match and the winner of that match played against the loser of the second Olympic quota final to win the final quota.

In the women’s singles it was Australia’s Jian Fang Yan which won the first quota defeating compatriot Melissa Tapper 4-1. Tapper would go to take the second quota as she defeated Fiji’s Grace Yee 4-0. Tapper will be the first Australian and second table tennis player to compete at both the Olympics and Paralympics. The final quota came down to Grace Yee and her sister Sally Yee. Sally would reverse the loss that she suffered by the hands of her sister as she sealed up the final Olympic quota 4-0.

In the men’s singles Australia’s David Powell sealed the first quota with a narrow 4-3 victory over his compatriot Chris Yan. Yan would qualify himself as he defeated New Zealand’s Tengteng Liu 4-0 in the second quota final. The final quota was between Liu and Vanuatu’s Yoshua Shing. Liu would go on to win the final quota defeating Shing, 4-0.

With Australia grabbing two single quotas for both genders they are almost guaranteed a spot in the team events. Not only would Fiji or New Zealand have to qualify a second athlete through the world rankings, but they must also would have to achieve a higher team ranking than Australia by the cut-off point.


Quotas by Nations

  • Australia – 4
  • Fiji – 1
  • New Zealand – 1



Rowing: Nine Nations Qualify Boats After Latin American Regatta, Reallocations Still to Follow

Brazil managed to medal in all four events at the 2016 Latin American Olympic Qualification Regatta. The top six nations in the single sculls and the top three nations in the lightweight double sculls were given quotas to compete in the Olympics. However, there is a maximum of one boat per gender. The Latin American Olympic Qualification Regatta was held in Curauma, Chile from March 22nd to March 24th 2016.

The top two in the three heats of the men’s single sculls advanced to the A/B semi-final while all other boats advanced to the repechage. Mexico’s Julian Cabrera Perez had the fastest time in the heats, winning heat 1 with a time of 7:07.014. In the two repechages the top three advanced to the A/B semi-final. Uruguay’s Jhonatan Esquivel Montes finished with the fastest time of 7:07.453 in repechage 1. Cabrera Perez repeated his strong performance in the A/B semi-final, winning heat 1 with a time of 7:06.912. Brazil’s Steve Hiestand won the second semi-final with a time of 7:04.296. Argentina, Chile, Peru and Uruguay also qualified to the A Final and thus all six nations qualified to the Olympics. Cabrera Perez would go on to win the event with a time of 6:58.991. Argentina’s Brian Russo won silver while Hiestand won bronze.

The top two in the four heats of the women’s single sculls advanced to the A/B semi-final while all other boats advanced to the repechage. Mexico’s Kenia Lechuga Alenis had the fastest time in the heats, winning heat 4 with a time of 7:35.886. In the two repechages the top two advanced to the A/B semi-final. Chile’s Antonia Abraham Schuessler finished with the fastest time of 7:47.514 in repechage 1. Bermuda’s Michelle Pearson won the first race in the A/B semi-final with a time of 7:46.073. The second heat went to Lechuga Alenis whom finished with a time of 7:46.094. Brazil, Chile, Cuba and Trinidad and Tobago also qualified to the A Final and thus all six nations qualified to the Olympics. Pearson won the event with a time of 7:42.008 while Brazil’s Fabiana Beltramebiana won silver and Lechuga Alenia won bronze.

The winners of the two heats of the men’s lightweight double sculls advanced to the A Final while all other boats advanced to the repechage. The first heat was won by Mexico with a time of 6:20.942 while the second heat was won by Cuba with a time of 6:28.352. The top two from the two repechages advanced to the A Final. Chile and Brazil both won their respective heats while Argentina and Uruguay also advanced to the A Final. Brazil won the event with a time of 6:25.965 while Mexico and Cuba won the silver and bronze respectively as all three nations qualified to the Olympics.

The top two boats over the two heats of the women’s lightweight double sculls advanced to the A Final while all other boats advanced to the repechage. The first heat was won by El Salvador with a time of 7:12.461, Chile finished in second. The second heat was won by Cuba with a time of 7:15.346, Brazil finished second. The top two from the single repechage advanced to the A Final. The repechage was won by Argentina with a time of 7:10.956, Mexico finished second and also advanced to the A Final. Brazil won the event with a time of 7:08.950 while Cuba and Chile won the silver and bronze respectively as all three nations qualified to the Olympics.

Since Brazil and Mexico for the men and Brazil, Chile and Cuba for the women qualified in both boats they must now choose which event they will compete in while the other boat will be reallocated to the next highest ranked boat at this regatta. The reallocations will force another nation to choose between two boats, but in the end the following nations could potentially benefit from the reallocation; in the men’s singles sculls; Venezuela and Ecuador, in the men’s lightweight single sculls; Venezuela and Paraguay, in the women’s single sculls; Argentina, Paraguay and Peru and in the women’s lightweight double sculls; El Salvador, Argentina and Uruguay. Nations will have two weeks to submit which quota they will use so it will probably be a while before we will know the final qualification.


Boats by Nations

  • Brazil – 4*
  • Chile – 3*
  • Cuba – 3*
  • Mexico – 3*
  • Argentina – 1
  • Bermuda – 1
  • Peru – 1
  • Trinidad and Tobago – 1
  • Uruguay – 1

* Will be reduced



Equestrian: FEI Removes Score, But Ukraine Still Qualifies

Update: A dispute between Ukraine and Poland for the final spot in dressage has been settled. The dispute was that Ukraine’s Inna Logutenkova was given favourable judging by Ukrainian officials at an event in Belgium. It was thought that the invalidation of the scores would give the quota to Poland, however, FEI has confirmed that Logutenkova still retained enough points to claim the final Olympic spot for the Ukraine.


Triathlon: South Africa Sweeps Podium at African Championship

South Africa showed its dominance at the 2016 African Triathlon Championship by sweeping the podium. The winner from each race qualified to the Olympic. The African Triathlon Championship was held in Buffalo City, South Africa on March 20th 2016.

The women’s race was a bit of an upset as Mari Rabie finished ahead of number one ranked South African Gillian Sanders. Sanders attempted to catch Rabie during the run, but was unsuccessful as she finished second with a time of 2:17:31. Rabie won the event with a time of 2:15:03. Fellow compatriot Cindy Schwulst finished with the bronze with a time of 2:20:16.

The men’s race more or less belonged to South Africa’s Henri Schoeman. He finished the swimming portion almost a minute ahead of the nearest competitor and by the end of the cycling portion he was almost two minutes ahead. Schoeman would go on to extend his lead to win with a time of 2:04:05. Compatriots Wian Sullwad and Basson Engelbrecht finished second and third respectively.

While final word will be required South Africa has a policy in which they do not accept continental quotas. Should South Africa decline the quotas it would go to the next highest ranked athlete in the world rankings. For the men this isn’t much of a problem as Schoeman is expected to qualify through the rankings regardless, but for Rabie it could have implications as she is currently sitting outside of the cut-off. There are still a lot of events to go so things could change for the better if South Africa decides to make this complicated.


Quotas by Nations

  • South Africa – 2



Handball: Women’s Teams Finalised After Final Qualification Tournaments

The final six teams for the women’s handball teams were decided over three Olympic qualification tournaments. Each of the three tournaments contained four teams where a round robin tournament was played. The top two teams from each tournament qualified to the Olympics. The three tournaments were held from March 18th to March 20th 2016 in Metz, France, Aarhus, Denmark and Astrakhan, Russia.

The first tournament began with Japan powering through Tunisia 37-20 while the Netherlands used a strong second half to defeat France 24-17. The Netherlands would again use a strong second half to go from 15-16 to 33-15 against Japan and qualified to the Olympics. France defeated Tunisia 33-15 to set up a match against Japan for the second Olympic quota. Netherlands finished top of the group with 37-20 win over Tunisia. France began strong against Japan and never gave the nation a chance to catch-up. In the end France qualified to the Olympics after a 25-17 win over Japan.

The second tournament began with Montenegro defeating Uruguay and Romania defeating Denmark 34-19 and 32-25 respectively. Romania continued its winning ways and defeated Uruguay 36-19. In the other match Montenegro held Denmark off and qualified both itself and Romania to the Olympics with a 26-22 win. With Olympic qualification already booked for both nations Romania went on a seven goal streak to take the lead against Montenegro 15-11 going into the half. Montenegro would respond in the second half with a six goal streak and scored the final goal right at the end of the match to tie 23-23. Romania would win the tournament due to the better goal differential. Denmark would take a consolation third place by defeating Uruguay 38-17.

The first match of the third tournament between Poland and Russia ended up being quite the thriller. Russia scored three unanswered goals in the final three minutes to win the match 27-25. Meanwhile Sweden defeated Mexico 41-20. Sweden would end up eliminating Poland by defeating the team 30-24. Russia joined Sweden to the Olympics after their comprehensive 37-17 win over Mexico. With Olympic qualification for both nations Russia would begin the match 5-0 against Sweden and would never relinquish the lead as they went on to win the tournament 37-29. Poland would take a consolation third place by defeating Mexico 36-14.

With these tournaments over the participating nations for the women’s handball tournament have been finalised. The men’s tournament will be finalised with their own final qualification tournaments to be held over the coming weeks.


Tournament 1 Rankings

  1. Netherlands
  2. France
  3. Japan
  4. Tunisia


Tournament 2 Rankings

  1. Romania
  2. Montenegro
  3. Denmark
  4. Uruguay


Tournament 3 Rankings

  1. Russia
  2. Sweden
  3. Poland
  4. Mexico