Taiwan karate athlete must requalify for Olympics due to rule change

Wen Tzu-yun (left) (CNA)

TAIPEI (CNA) — Taiwanese Wen Tzu-yun (文姿云), who had already qualified for the women’s karate competition in the Tokyo Olympics, will have to go through the process again because the system has changed since the 2020 Games were postponed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wen had qualified for the Summer Olympics when she finished second in the women’s kumite 55-kilogram category with 7,080 points in the World Karate Federation (WKF) ranking system in March.

With the postponement of the Games to summer 2021, however, the WKF has changed its qualification system, which now requires Wen to compete in a Premier League event next year.

Her points from that event will be added to the 7,080 she now holds, and if the total number puts her in first or second place worldwide in her competition category, she will qualify for the 2021 Olympics.

Wen, who learned of the change last week, told CNA that she was not too worried about it and was “focusing on what needs to be done”.

Despite the setbacks, she said, she is grateful that she can continue her training.

“We are very lucky to be in Taiwan,” she said. “Because of the efforts of many people, we can still train regularly.”

Currently, only Anzhelika Terliuga of Ukraine is ahead of Wen in the women’s kumite 55-kilogram category with 9,472.5 points, according to the WKF ranking system. In third place is Jana Messerschmidt of Germany, with 5,707.5 points.

Karate competitions will be included in the Games for the first time in the Tokyo Olympics, which were postponed to 2021 after the worldwide outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus earlier this year.