Differences of opinion arose between the Japanese Mountaineering and Climbing Association (JMSCA) and the International Climbing Association (IFSC), which had to be dealt with at the International Court of Justice in Lausanne (CAS). The CAS has now dismissed the JMSCA's complaint.

In essence, it is about the selection of Japanese athletes for the Olympic Summer Games in Tokyo. With the decision of the CAS, it is clear which athletes will represent Japan. These are Tomoa Narasaki, Kai Harada, Akiyo Noguchi and Miho Nonaka.

The whole story of the dispute between the two associations is a bit complicated. We clarify.

How the litigation came about

The first competition where tickets for the Summer Olympics were awarded was the World Championships in Hachioji in 2019. The eight best female and eighth best athletes in the competition received one of the coveted tickets. Tomoa Narasaki, Kai Harada, Akiyo Noguchi and Miho Nonaka were among the eight best athletes of the event and thus secured their participation in the Olympic Games. At least if the IFSC has its way.

The JMSCA interpreted the selection criteria differently. The Japanese assumed that only one Japanese athlete and one Japanese athlete would win an Olympic ticket in Hachioji - that is, Narasaki and Noguchi - and that the remaining places would be chosen from the qualified candidates for the competition in Toulouse and the Asian Continental Championships. Kai Harada and Miho Nonaka might have ended up with nothing.

Japan's complaint dismissed

With its interpretation of the selection criteria, the JMSCA went to the International Sports Court. The latter had to decide whether the selection should be based on the understanding of the IFSC or the JMSCA. A few days ago the decision was made in favor of the International Sport Climbing Association IFSC. This now seals that Tomoa Narasaki, Kai Harada, Akiyo Noguchi and Miho Nonaka Japan will participate in the 2020 Summer Olympics (postponed to 2021) be represented.

It is now time for us to focus on sport again and face the challenges of the pandemic.

IFSC President Marco Scolaris

The JMSCA accepts the CAS decision, but says:

We did what we as an association could do, which is to bring the case to the International Court of Justice. We are sorry that athletes who, in our opinion, would have had the chance of an Olympic ticket are now left behind because of the decision.


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Credits: Cover picture IFSC