With the men’s team foil lineup complete, this weekend sees the Rio Olympic slots filled for the women’s and men’s team épée as their World Cup road continues in the Americas.
The women’s qualification race will be decided in Buenos Aires, where China, Romania, Russia and the United States will compete in the knowledge that they have already won enough points to guarantee qualification as a top-four nation.
But with 26 points separating the next four teams, the race is on for the final automatic spot. The fact that it is extremely unlikely that an African team will reach the world’s top 16 means that there will almost certainly be an additional qualification berth available, and the permutations are numerous.
For the United States, it’s not about whether it will qualify, but how: Should it remain outside the world’s top four, it will pick up the PanAm zonal spot. If it breaks into the top four, Venezuela will almost certainly qualify as the top PanAm nation.
It is a similar situation for the potential Asian qualifiers: South Korea cannot be overtaken as the top Asian nation but can break into the top four in the world. That would open the Asian spot up, and Japan could be the beneficiary.
Which European countries that qualify along with Russia and Romania is dependent on whether Estonia remains in the world’s top four after Buenos Aires. If it does, France and Ukraine lead the race for potentially two additional spots – the European zonal spot and the spare one left due to no African team qualifying. Italy, Sweden and Hungary are also in that race.
Meanwhile, Vancouver will be the setting for the men’s team épée. The top three in the official FIE rankings – France, Ukraine and Italy – have already booked their places in Rio. Results in Canada will determine whether Switzerland or Russia will secure qualification. There are scenarios where either one of these épée superpowers may not qualify.
The additional African zonal berth is still up for grabs and a top 16 placing for Egypt in Canada may be enough to catapult it into the top 16 of the official FIE rankings and, consequently, the Rio Games.
Egypt finished tenth at the last team event, the Heidenheim World Cup stage, and all eyes will be on its first match on Sunday. The outcome of that match will have a huge bearing on who will qualify in the Asian zone.
Venezuela, meanwhile, currently occupies the qualification spot for the additional PanAm berth. Canada and the United States can still deny the South Americans by winning the event – though even that may not be enough depending on other results.
The schedule for the live stream is here.
An explanation of the qualifying procedure can be found here.
Tags: #WCepee2016 #RoadToRio