Romania 101 in Tokyo showed that Romanian sport is in crisis

The unprecedented Summer Olympics were held a year later, in 2021, under the Tokyo 2020 banner, mostly for logistical reasons, because changing the entire signage in Tokyo 2021 would have entailed huge and unnecessary costs.

The Romanian Olympic team was favored by postponing the event by one year, as some athletes were given another chance to fight for qualification to the world’s best sporting event.

Finally, our country’s delegation had 101 members representing 17 disciplines. Among the most disappointing absences was the absence of the women’s national handball team, which missed the qualification, as well as the absence of Simona Halep, who has not yet reached the matches, this time due to injury.

Instead, Romanian football returned to the Olympic competition in Tokyo 2020, 57 years after the last participation, which was also in the Japanese capital, in Tokyo in 1964.

An unusual presence in the team was the presence of the most famous Romanian gymnast, Marian Drogulescu, whose participation, at the age of 41, in this version of the Games was a swan song. It turns out that the same applies to Larisa Jurdach, whose injury was more serious than previously thought, which means that she did not play in the final in the mannequin for which she qualified. Erdach then announced his retirement from the sport at the end of the year.

Regarding the withdrawals after Tokyo 2020, we should also mention fencing Anna Maria Popescu, who competed for the fifth time in the Olympic Games and who was on the verge of claiming her first individual gold medal in the Japanese capital.

The largest delegation was the delegation of the Romanian Rowing Federation, which counted no less than 36 athletes, proving to be the most successful team, with the most medals in these games.

The Romanian national team left for Tokyo 2020 with high expectations from the President of the Romanian Olympic and Sports Committee (COSR), Mihai Kovalio, who before the competition estimated the number of medals up to 8-10 for Romania.

In the end, it was the Olympic Technical Committee that correctly estimated the chances of the Romanian athletes, which predicted 4-6 medals.

In the end, the score was “only” 4, a score that Mihai Kovalho rightly deemed unsatisfactory after the event.

There were “only” 4, of which “only” was a gold medal, earned by rowers Simona Radish and Ankwa Bodnar, in the double rowing event.

Two more silvers came from the same canoe delegation, with Ciprien Todosi and Marius Kuzmiuk, in the double tire test, and Cosmin Pascari, Tivan Berario, Mogurel Simciuk and Mihcic Ignescu, in the quad tire test.

The fourth medal, a silver “only” fencing, was won by Anna Maria Popescu in the sword test.

The expression “silver only” later led to a rift between the multi-Olympic medalist and the Minister of Youth and Sports, Edward Novak, marked by the “hiccup” reception on his return to the country, when Popescu refused to shake Novak’s hand. At the airport, where the player also gave a strongly worded speech to the Romanian official and to those who lead Romanian sports, who criticized the difficult conditions in which Romanian athletes prepare. The feud was later tempered, with the two complimenting each other and reaching a “truce”, for the “interest of Roman sport”.

Far from “nail” the bronze medal, as he himself said, the young swimmer David Popovici, the new Romanian swimming star, who took fourth place in the 200-meter freestyle and which promises to share medals, at international competitions, after correcting several records At the junior level this season.

The table tennis teams were also very close to the medals. The mixed doubles, made up of Ovidiu Jorge Ionescu and Bernadette Cynthia Szucks, and the women’s doubles, made up of Daniela Dudian Monteiro, Elisabetta Samara and Bernadette Cynthia Szucks, needed another match for at least a bronze medal.

Even if they did not bring in medals from Tokyo, some Romanian athletes have achieved outstanding personal performance, compared to their previous results, even by simply attending the event.

In an analysis by the European Space Research Committee after the event, Mihai Kovalho stated: “The federations have set bold goals. But there was a big difference between what they were planning to do and what they had achieved. It has to be a moment of reality and the national sports federations must begin this transformation, this Reform from the inside out.” He noted that of the sports represented in the Games only rowing, swimming and fencing really achieved their goals:

“The Romanian Olympic and Sports Committee has provided athletes from Olympic teams and federations, with the help of our partners, everything they need in this Olympic cycle. We have secured the assumptions of the federations and it is time for them to implement actions that will awaken Romanian sport! The federations that have achieved their goal are rowing, fencing and swimming. For the upcoming Olympics, the main need is to have qualified coaches to lead the Olympic teams, the right infrastructure for sports performance, teams of specialists in the Olympic teams with experience in importing.It is also necessary to monitor and monitor the training of the Olympic teams.Investment in the future, in athletes from Olympic centers For young people and juniors, it can save Romanian sport. It is important that sport becomes a national priority!”

In the overall ranking by countries, Romania finished its Tokyo 2020 participation in 46th place, overtaken by countries such as Kosovo, Uganda, Georgia and Bulgaria.

At the moment, the future of the Olympic movement in Romania looks bleak. The new national strategy to relaunch Romanian sport, proposed by Minister Edward Novak, looks good on paper and appears well established, but the experience of the recent Olympics does not give reasons for optimism. Paris 2024 is two and a half years away, during which time it is not possible to make major structural changes and we may also rely on the slightly updated unit from Tokyo 2020.

However, until then, Romania’s team is gearing up for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, a competition whose qualifying places are still on the line. True, Romania did not excel in winter sports, which is why it is not at all realistic to expect even a medal in the Chinese version of the competition.

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