EHF EURO champions Norway among gold favourites in Tokyo
The rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympics begins this weekend and Sunday sees the beginning of the women’s competition at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium.
Eight European sides are among the 12 competing in Japan’s capital and are heavily favoured to claim a clean sweep of the medals.
The tournament sees 12 teams divided into two groups of six, with the preliminary round played between 25 July and 2 August.
The top four teams in each group progress to the quarter-finals on 4 August, with the semi-finals two days later before the gold and bronze medal matches on Sunday 8 August.
In group A, reigning world champions Netherlands and EHF EURO 2020 winners Norway lead the pack, followed by 2012 silver medallists Montenegro, with all three battling for the top spots and a favourable route in the knockout rounds.
However, the non-European trio of hosts Japan, two-time gold medallists South Korea and African champions Angola are certain to hit peak form at the event and may cause an upset or two.
Too close to call in group B
Group B will be a real battle for qualification from the very beginning with five European teams (Spain, Russian Olympic Committee, Hungary, Sweden and France) and Brazil all with eyes on progressing to the knockout stages.
The Russian Olympic Committee team will be buoyed by the fitness of Anna Vyakhireva, who was the MVP at Rio 2016 when Russia won gold and will need her to be at top form as theTy hope to fend off the challenges from a French side looking to go one better than five years ago, Japan 2019 silver medallists Spain and the likes of Sweden and Hungary, who looked in good form in pre-tournament test matches.
For further information on the event and the detailed schedule, visit the official Olympics homepage.