Leung Po-sum, left, is among the Hong Kong judoka hoping to qualify for Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images

The Hong Kong Judo Association (HKJA) is hoping to hold an event that will count towards Olympic qualification after raising concerns over the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on its athletes' chances of securing a place at Tokyo 2020.

HKJA chairman Wong Po-kee told the South China Morning Post the organisation is planning to stage a competition in February or March using a "safety bubble", pending Government approval.

The bubble, part of the International Judo Federation's (IJF) COVID-19 protocol, would grant international athletes travelling for the event an exemption against two-week quarantine measures in place in the country.

"The biggest problem remains is that if we invite overseas competitors to Hong Kong, they will face a minimum two-week quarantine under the current health practice," said Wong. 

"If we cannot lift that quarantine requirement, I am sure we cannot have an international tournament.

"If the Government can accept this safety feature and lift the quarantine requirement for overseas arrivals, we may be able to work out a fruitful plan."

The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on Olympic qualification for Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images
The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on Olympic qualification for Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images

Travel restrictions imposed across the world in response to the pandemic have led to increasing concern in numerous sports over how athletes can qualify for the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Wong said it would be difficult for Hong Kong judoka to compete in the tournaments which count towards the IJF rankings, used to determine Olympic quota places, as most are set to take place in Europe.

Leung Po-sum, ninth in the women's under-57 kilogram rankings, is Hong Kong's main hope of sealing a Tokyo 2020 judo berth, and Wong said the HKJA was hoping she would be able to take part in competitions in Europe to boost her chances of qualification.

"We are planning to send Leung to Europe next year but it’s very difficult to get out of Hong Kong these days under the quarantine requirements, both for Hong Kong and overseas countries," said Wong.

"If she cannot compete any more, she may be overtaken by other judokas from the region. 

"Having a qualifying event in Hong Kong will help safeguard her position."

Under the IJF's revised process for Tokyo 2020, athletes have until June 28 next year to earn qualification points.

The IJF was forced to push back its deadline in the wake of the decision to postpone Tokyo 2020 to 2021.

The coronavirus pandemic curtailed dozens of judo events and led to the early abandonment of the 2020 World Tour season.