Road to Tokyo
A total of 24 teams will compete for medals in both the men's and women's competitions at Tokyo 2020.
Men's and women's Olympic Qualification
The journey of qualification so far
The process of qualification for Tokyo 2020 began in October 2019 when the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series kicked off in Glendale, Colorado.
With a top-four finish on the men’s and women’s series enough to secure a place at Tokyo 2020, the competition for those coveted spots was tougher than ever last season.
Host nation Japan’s men and women qualified automatically for Tokyo 2020 and outside of those already qualified, it is down to the regional qualifiers and World Rugby Olympic Repechage tournament to complete the 12-strong field.
In the men’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, USA, Fiji and New Zealand became the first to qualify at the HSBC London Sevens in May 2019. They were joined by South Africa a week later at the HSBC Paris Sevens – the finale event of the men’s series.
These four teams won 23 medals between them with both Fiji and USA earning a place on the medal podium in seven of the ten tournaments last season.
In the women’s series, New Zealand won the first three tournaments and wrapped up qualification at the HSBC Canada Women's Sevens in Langford, the penultimate tournament in the season.
They were joined by USA, Canada and Rio 2016 gold medallists Australia who all qualified a month later at the season finale at the HSBC France Women's Sevens in Birarritz.
First and second placed New Zealand and USA each medalled in all but one of the six tournaments in the 2019 series resulting in USA’s highest ever finish in the history of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series.
The second opportunity for teams to qualify for Tokyo 2020 is through regional tournaments held in South America, North America, Europe Africa, Oceania and Asia running between May and November 2019.
In the first of the regional qualifiers Brazil’s women and Argentina’s men emerged victorious to secure South America’s men’s and women’s places in Tokyo. The Sudamericano Feminino, played in Lima, Peru, doubled up as the women’s qualifier event in a region where Brazil have remained unbeaten since 2004.
Brazil also cemented their spot as a core team on the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series 2020 after winning the qualifying event at the HSBC Hong Kong Sevens in April 2019.
In Santiago, Chile, Argentina dominated the Sudamerica Rugby Sevens competition, which, like its female counterpart, acted as the men's regional qualification event for Tokyo.
Next followed the North America qualifier which was hosted in George Town in the Cayman Islands where Canada’s men booked their ticket to compete in their first ever Olympic Games.
Determined to join their female counterparts at Tokyo 2020, number one seeds Canada justified their favourites tag in the Rugby Americas North (RAN) Sevens men’s competition as they went unbeaten across two days of competition.
With USA and Canada’s women’s teams having secured their places for Tokyo on the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series, Mexico and Jamaica – who finished in first and second place respectively in the women’s RAN Sevens tournament – automatically go into the World Rugby Olympic Repechage tournament which takes place next summer.
Most recently was the Rugby Europe qualification tournaments for both men and women which took place in July in Colomiers, France and Kazan, Russia respectively.
It was double joy for Great Britain as England’s men and women were victorious across both tournaments, and as the nominated nation for qualifying Great Britain, will look forward to making their second outing at an Olympic Games next year.
The next regional qualification tournament will be the women’s African event taking place in Jamal, Tunisia, on 12-13 October 2019.
The final opportunity for teams to qualify for Tokyo 2020 will be through the World Rugby Olympic Repechage tournament where the second and third ranked nations from each regional event will fight for the last spots up for grabs.
Representing South America’s women will be Colombia and Argentina while Brazil and Chile will compete in the men’s tournament.
Joining them at the repechage will be North America’s women’s sides, Mexico and Jamaica with their male counterparts completing the region’s presence at the tournament.
The latest teams to secure their spots are Europe’s Russia and France in the women’s competition with France and Ireland representing the men.