Last six spots at women's handball tournament in Tokyo confirmed  

Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) joined Sweden, Norway, Spain, Hungary, and Montenegro in booking their place at the Olympics via the qualifying event for the Tokyo 2020 Games in 2021.

By Andrew Binner
Picture by Yomiuri

Reigning women’s handball Olympic champions Russia won the IHF Olympic qualifying event on Sunday (21st March) to book a spot at the Tokyo Olympic Games for the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) team.

The Russians beat Kazakhstan 33-26 in Gyor, Hungary, after defeating Serbia 29-24 in their opening game.

The defeat for Kazakhstan also secured Hungary's berth at the Olympics in 2021, as the other unbeaten team from the group.

Anna Vyakhireva, who was Russia's top scorer against Serbia with seven goals, is still considered one of the best players in her country. She was named MVP at Rio 2016 in recognition of her 36 goals and 26 assists.

And there seems to be an endless pool of talent. One of them is Elena Mikhaylichenko. You can find out more about her here.

With the Russia team name, flag, and anthem banned from the Tokyo and Beijing Olympics for doping offenses, the team and all athletes will compete under "ROC" - an acronym for Russian Olympic Committee. This has been agreed on by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Sweden also sealed their spot at the Tokyo Olympics at the qualifying event in Lliria, Spain.

The Europeans beat Argentina 34-21 to finish top of their three-team group, following an earlier 28-28 draw with Spain.

The hosts trounced Argentina 31-16 to punch their Olympic ticket.

The third tournament was played in Podgorica, Montenegro, and it was a tight affair as each of the three countries recorded one win and lost once.

Montenegro and Norway ended up taking the two Olympic tickets.

The Olympic tournament

The qualifiers from this event will join the six teams that have already secured their places at the rescheduled Tokyo Games in 2021, including hosts Japan, world champions The Netherlands, and continental champions France (Europe) and Brazil (Pan American). Angola and South Korea have booked their spots at the respective qualifiers in Africa and Asia .

READ: Olympic handball at Tokyo 2020: Top five things to know