Wheelchair fencers will not be able to qualify through continental Championships for the Paralympics ©Getty Images

The International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) Wheelchair Fencing has announced the qualification window for this year's re-arranged Paralympic Games in Tokyo has now closed due to the ongoing uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Regional Championships in Europe, the Americas and Asia; and the World Cup in Brazil, were all set to take place before May 31, offering world ranking points in the process.

These events were postponed from 2020 and due to ongoing international travel restrictions, may cause athletes to miss these competitions, meaning they will no longer contribute to qualification.

"Almost exactly one year ago when we originally postponed regional Championships and World Cups, we never imagined we would again be faced with the same difficult decisions," said Pal Szekeres, chairperson of the IWAS Wheelchair Fencing Executive Committee.

"We are very conscious of the impact that freezing the world rankings will have on athletes who were still hoping to qualify.

"We are all hugely disappointed that we are not able to end things as we would all like.

"However we had to look at the overall situation, including the feedback we were receiving from organisers and national authorities and addressing the uncertainty for teams that still remains because of COVID-19.

Wheelchair fencing has been held at every Paralympics to date ©Getty Images
Wheelchair fencing has been held at every Paralympics to date ©Getty Images

"We hope that whilst this is not a position any of us wanted to be in, that it offers clarity for the majority of athletes and teams on the road to Tokyo 2020.

"We are looking forward to the Paralympics and all that they will bring with much anticipation, as well as being able to get back to normal as soon as possible."

The Asian Championships in Bangkok in Thailand are still scheduled to go ahead from May 12 to 17.

IWAS Wheelchair Fencing is still liaising with the organisers of the European Championships in Eger in Hungary; and the Americas Championships and World Cup in São Paulo in Brazil, to decide whether they still want to host the competitions.

Qualification slots are due to be announced in early June.

The Paralympics in the Japanese capital is scheduled to take place from August 24 to September 5.