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.
Athletics: Simbine sets the standard
South African sprinter Akani Simbine got his season off to a scorcher by clocking the fastest 100m time in the world this year at the Athletics Gauteng North Championships in Pretoria. His time of 9.91 seconds in the heats was the fastest time ever run on South African soil.
The 2018 Commonwealth Games champion will be hoping to add an Olympic medal to his collection at Tokyo 2020, where he intends to compete at both 100m and 200m.
Swimming: Peaty and Dawson at the double
Great Britain’s Adam Peaty swam the fastest 100m breaststroke time in the world this year, recording a time of 58.13 during the Edinburgh International Meet. He then went on to double his tally of victories, winning the 50m breaststroke final with a time of 27.14.
In the women’s competition, Kathleen Dawson added a 50m backstroke win to the 100m title she had won the day before with a meet record of 28.07.
Badminton: Denmark shining after 21 years
Viktor Axelsen won the All England Open, which took place in Birmingham last weekend. With his victory, he became the first Danish player to win the tournament since 1996, when Peter Gadded took first position. Axelsen, the No.7 ranked player in the world, defeated Chou Tien-chen from Chinese Taipei in straight sets (21-13 21-14).
In the women’s competition, Tai Tzu-ying from the Chinese Taipei badminton team was victorious against the current world No.1, beating Chen Yufei (People’s Republic of China) 21-19 21-15 to avenge the defeat she suffered against her in last year’s final.
Taekwondo: Mexico fail to hit former heights
The Pan-American taekwondo qualifier took place in Costa Rica, with Mexico only managing to secure two spots for Tokyo 2020 after the performances of Briseida Acosta and Carlos Sansores
The Mexican team had expected to send more athletes to Tokyo 2020, as taekwondo is one of the sports in which it has won most gold medals. It is the first time since Sydney 2000 that Mexico has claimed only two Olympic spots.
Wrestling: USA dominate Pan American qualifiers
The USA ended the Wrestling Pan American Qualification Tournament with the most gold medals after an excellent performance in Ottawa, Canada. Athletes from the USA won 15 gold medals (seven freestyle, five greco roman and three women’s), followed by the Cuban team, who achieved four golds. Canada was the third most successful nation with two gold medals in the women’s competition.