Update 3/11/20: The IFSC posted a statement about upcoming competitions amid coronavirus concerns: “With regard to the calendar, the IFSC is moving towards the postponement of both the IFSC Asian Championships and the IFSC European Championships until June. At the same time, the Sport Department is reconsidering all the events expected to take place in April, exploring the possibility to reschedule them at a later stage. On a positive note both the IFSC African Championships and the IFSC Oceania Championships are confirmed at the moment.”
The International Olympic Committee has announced that they will decide in May whether the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will proceed or be cancelled due to the coronavirus. In the meantime, fans can only speculate about the fate of the games. The International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC), on the other hand, has international events throughout the spring and has already made difficult decisions. They’ve cancelled all April 2020 events in China, which includes two World Cups. Now the fate of the Asian Championship, which has Olympic implications, is also in question.
On March 3, the IFSC released a statement on their website:
Due to the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), the IFSC announced last month that no IFSC events will take place in China in April 2020. As the IFSC Continental Championships (in particular the Asian Championships which were scheduled to take place in Chongqing, China) face disruption, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has approved an amended version of the Qualification System for the Tokyo Games.
The IFSC is closely monitoring the development of the Coronavirus and will release an update over the coming weeks. Should it be deemed unsafe to hold the Championships at this time, the remaining quota places for Sport Climbing at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 shall be reallocated.
To be clear, the Asian Championship has not been cancelled at this time. The decision is pending for the event planned for April 27 – May 3 in Morioka, Japan. But because that event will award Olympic berths to the male and female winners, the IFSC has created a contingency plan in case the competition does not take place. An amendment to the Olympic qualification guidelines outlines the specifics:
Unused quota from any Continental Championship, will be reallocated to the next highest placed athlete from the relevant continent, not yet qualified, in the Combined World Championships 2019, respecting the maximum quota per gender per NOC.
If there are no eligible athletes from the relevant continent at the Combined World Championships 2019, the unused quota will be reallocated to the next highest placed athlete irrespective of continent, not yet qualified, in the Combined World Championships 2019, respecting the maximum quota per gender per NOC.
Based on these criteria, if the Asian Championship is cancelled the Olympic berths will be awarded to Jongwon Chon and rising star Chaehyun Seo, both of South Korea.
The IFSC has not released a statement about the Asian Championship, but Jongwon Chon and Chaehyun Sea have both posted on Instagram to announce that they have received Olympic berths. Climbing is monitoring the situation and will update when we have official news.
Stay tuned for Climbing.com for updates about the Olympics and the IFSC schedule, and check out Olympic Climbing 101 for a full rundown of how climbing in the Tokyo Olympics will work.