BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
THE recent postponement of the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games to next year due to the coronavirus pandemic might have robbed him of a certain qualification berth, but Japan-based top Zimbabwean golfer Scott Vincent (pictured) is still hopeful of fulfilling his dream of playing in world sports’ global showpiece event.
Initially, the Games were supposed to be staged in Tokyo in July and August this year with Vincent poised to book his spot after maintaining a place inside the projected field for the Games throughout the two-year qualifying period which was expected to run until June 22.
With the postponement of the Olympic Games to 2021, some athletes who were on the verge of qualification face the prospect of starting all over again while others who had missed qualification standards have gained a new opportunity to make it to the Japanese capital.
Vincent, who last year shifted his base from the US to Japan, is, however, still relishing the prospect of becoming the first Zimbabwean professional golfer to feature at the Olympic Games in Japan next year.
The 27-year-old former St John’s College student, who has established himself as one of the top players on the Asian and Japan Tour circuits over the last three years, vowed to continue working hard to realise his Olympic dream.
“I wasn’t too surprised to see that the Olympics had been cancelled. It was looking like I was going to be on track to qualify, but I’m now not sure what the new qualification criteria is going to be. I’m not sure yet if it’s still the same cut-off, which was in June or same time next year, so you still have to play your best golf and continue to get better and that’s what I’ll be focusing on,” he said.
The International Golf Federation is yet to confirm the new qualification criteria for the rescheduled Olympics, which will still be held in Tokyo, but from July 23 through August 8 of next year.
The new deadline for qualifying for this competition is June 29, 2021, with entry lists due a week later.
Vincent said qualification for the Tokyo Games would be special for him after moving to the Asian country last year. The Zimbabwean golfer also captured his first international win on the Japan Challenge Tour last year.
“The fact that the Olympics will be held in Japan is awesome for me and it’s one of the reasons we moved over to play here, so that we get used to their courses and hopefully that has an advantage for the Olympic Games,” he said.