The road to the Games: Matildas close in on Tokyo

NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 06: Sam Kerr of the Australian Matildas celebrates a goal during the Women's Olympic Football Tournament Play-Off match between the Australian Matildas and Vietnam at McDonald Jones Stadium on March 06, 2020 in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Tony Feder/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 06: Sam Kerr of the Australian Matildas celebrates a goal during the Women's Olympic Football Tournament Play-Off match between the Australian Matildas and Vietnam at McDonald Jones Stadium on March 06, 2020 in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Tony Feder/Getty Images)

Around 11,000 athletes are expected to take part in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. But the journey to Japan starts long before. Every week, Tokyo 2020 will keep you up to date with what’s been happening in the world of sport during the build-up to the Games.

Artistic swimming: Ukraine dominate in Paris

Ukraine's artistic swimming team put in a commanding performance to win seven gold medals out of a possible 10 at the FINA Artistic Swimming World Series 2020 #1 in Paris. The second best performing team were Spain with two golds in the Mixed Duet (Tech and Free) events, while France claimed gold in the Team Technical routine.

The next event will take place in Hurghada, Egypt from 27 to 29 March.

Football: Matildas one step from Tokyo

The Australia women's football team recorded an emphatic 5-0 victory against Vietnam in the first leg of their Olympic football tournament play-off in Newcastle, Australia. The Matildas, who are looking to secure their fourth appearance at the Olympics, took just ten minutes to take the lead before adding two more goals before half-time. Sam Kerr netted twice in a one-sided affair with Chloe Logarzo, Emily van Egmond and Clare Polkinghorne also on the score sheet. The second leg takes place on Wednesday 11 March in Cam Pha, Vietnam.

Zambia women won 2-1 in the second leg of their play-off against Cameroon to qualify for Tokyo 2020 on away goals. Cameroon had won the first leg 3-2 but first-half goals from Mary Mwakapila and Hellen Mubanga in the return fixture sealed an Olympic spot for the Copper Queens. The historic result means Zambia will represent Africa in the Olympic Games women's football tournament for the very first time. The journey is not over for Cameroon, who still have the chance to qualify if they overcome Chile in a two-legged playoff taking place on 15 and 19 April.

NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 06: Elise Kellond-Knight of the Australian Matildas contests the ball against Thai Thi Thao of Vietnam during the Women's Olympic Football Tournament Play-Off match between the Australian Matildas and Vietnam at McDonald Jones Stadium on March 06, 2020 in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 06: Elise Kellond-Knight of the Australian Matildas contests the ball against Thai Thi Thao of Vietnam during the Women's Olympic Football Tournament Play-Off match between the Australian Matildas and Vietnam at McDonald Jones Stadium on March 06, 2020 in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images)
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Table tennis: 11-year-old prodigy qualifies for Tokyo

Syrian Arab Republic's Hend Zaza will become one of the youngest Olympians ever after sealing Tokyo 2020 qualification with victory in the West Asia Olympic qualification tournament in Jordan. At only 11 years old, Zaza defeated Lebanon's 42-year-old Mariana Sahakian 4-3 in the women's final in Amman to book her place at Tokyo 2020.

When she competes this summer, Zaza will be the youngest Olympian since Romanian figure skater Beatrice Hustiu competed at the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France at 11 years and 158 days.

Marathon: Japan complete women's team

ICHIYAMA Mao booked her spot at Tokyo 2020 by winning the Nagoya Women's Marathon in a race record time of 2:20:29. The 22-year-old secured victory in the rain with the fastest ever women's national time set at an event in Japan.

Ichiyama joins the Olympic team alongside MAEDA Honami and SUZUKI Ayuko, who finished first and second respectively at the national Olympic marathon trials.

Shooting: First gold goes to Germany

Germany's Nadine Messerschmidt took home the first gold of the Cyprus World Cup with a first-place finish in the women's skeet competition last Saturday. Day two saw two finals take place, with Poland's Sandra Bernal winning gold in the women's trap and Natalia Vinogradova and Roman Sentcov winning the mixed team skeet competition.

Day three of the World Cup saw France win its first gold medal in the the final of the trap mixed team event. Carole Cormenier and Antonin Desert took the top spot, with Spanish shooters Fatima Galvez and Alberto Fernandez winning silver.

The World Cup in Nicosia will continue until 13 March.

Wrestling: Historic win for Jamaica

Wrestler Angus Arthur made history by becoming the first ever Jamaican to win a gold medal in the Pan American Championships. Arthur overcame the challenge of Costa Rica's Maxwell Lacey Garita in the 92 kg men's freestyle finals match.

Elsewhere, the USA have been in dominant form, with freestyle wrestlers Kyle Snyder and Jordan Burroughs both cementing their place as Tokyo 2020 favourites with gold in Ottawa. Snyder beat Cuba’s Reineris Perez 11-1 in a one-sided final at 97 kg, while Burroughs claimed an 8-1 victory over Puerto Rico’s Franklin Matos in the 74 kg gold medal match.

What to expect in the week to come

Boxing: Olympic Boxing Qualification London: 13 March - 23 March

Fencing: 2020 Absolute Fencing Gear FIE Grand Prix Anaheim: 13 March – 15 march

Taekwondo: Pan Am Qualification Tournament for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games: 11 March - 12 March