2019-09-21 14:11:00 CEST
Italians Lupo/Nicolai and Latvians Plavins/Tocs have qualified to next year’s Summer Games
Medalists from past editions are poised to an Olympic comeback at the Tokyo 2020 Games next summer as Italians Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai and Latvians Martins Plavins and Edgars Tocs claimed the berths available at the Olympic Qualification Tournament in Haiyang, China.
The Italians, who won silver at the Rio 2016 Games, are in route to their third Olympic appearance as they also finished fifth in London 2012. They booked their tickets to the Japanese capital with a 21-17, 21-19 victory over fellow Rio 2016 medalists Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands, who took bronze in Copacabana three years ago, in one of their five wins at the Chinese coastal city.
“We are thrilled to clinch this berth early as we now can concentrate on Tokyo while competing on the World Tour,” Nicolai said. “We have played so many matches against the Dutch, so both teams know each other very well. It was our day and we are so proud to represent Italy again in the Olympics.”
Plavins, a bronze medalist from London 2012, and Tocs, who is set to make his Olympic debut in Tokyo, secured their spots with a 12-21, 22-20, 15-8 triumph over Russians Konstantin Semenov, a semifinalist of the Rio Games, and his partner Illya Leshukov.
“This is unbelievable,” Plavins, who was ninth at the 2008 Beijing Games, remarked. “We did not expect this since we had to play so many tough matches this week through three pools to reach the finals. We stayed the course and just fought hard throughout the four days of tournament against excellent competition.”
Besides of the Italians and the Latvians, are also guaranteed at the Tokyo 2020 Games Russians Oleg Stoyanovskiy and Viacheslav Krasilnikov, who won this year’s World Championships, and host country Japan, which is yet to nominate its team.
The final matches of the women’s Olympic Qualification Tournament will happen on Sunday and they will have Spanish Liliana Fernandez and Elsa Baquerizo facing Germans Sandra Ittlinger an Chantal Laboureur and Czechs Marketa Sluková and Barbora Hermannová going up against Latvians Tina Graudina and Anastasija Kravcenoka. The winners qualify their nations to the Olympics.