Tokyo 2020: Galal Yafai and Peter McGrail qualify for Olympics before London event suspended

Decision taken on Monday to suspend Boxing Road to Tokyo event in London to help counter spread of coronavirus

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Peter McGrail was thankful to have qualified for the Olympics before the event was postponed

Galal Yafai and Peter McGrail secured their spots in Team GB's boxing squad for the 2020 Tokyo Games before the Olympic qualifying event in London was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Flyweight Yafai, who represented Great Britain in Rio four years ago, beat Russia's Rasul Saliev in the 48-52kg category, while bantamweight McGrail defeated Czech Republic's Kevin Godla in the 52-57kg category.

The decision to suspend the Boxing Road to Tokyo event at London's Copper Box Arena following the conclusion of Monday's evening session was made as measures to counter the spread of the disease.

"The lads who were meant to be qualifying [later in the week] just said to me 'listen you have still got a job to do'," McGrail told Sky Sports News.

"They have all been here supporting me. It's been great all the lads and the girls still down to come and support us because I know their heads must be battered because they have trained for the past eight to 10 weeks for this week to get qualified.

Galal Yafai won gold in the 49kg category at the 2018 Commonwealth Games
Image: Galal Yafai won gold in the 49kg category at the 2018 Commonwealth Games

"Obviously for me and Galal a little luck has been on our side and we have had our chance to qualify. The pressure is off now."

The International Olympic Committee said it aims to complete the distribution of the remaining qualification places in May and June.

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London's Copper Box Arena allowed fans to watch the first two days of Olympic qualifying
Image: No fans were allowed entry for Monday's sessions at the Copper Box Arena in London

An IOC statement earlier read: "In light of the constantly changing landscape worldwide, the IOC Boxing Task Force (BTF) has decided [Monday] to suspend the current Boxing Road to Tokyo European qualifier in London, Great Britain, and the subsequent Americas and final world qualifiers, which were scheduled to take place in May.

"The European qualifier, which started on March 14 and was planned to run until March 24, will be closed after [Monday's] evening session.

Caroline Dubois is sister of British heavyweight champion Daniel
Image: Caroline Dubois won her fight on Saturday in front of fans

"The BTF eventually took the decision to suspend the event today, amid increasing global travel restrictions and quarantine measures, in order to allow the participants from over 60 countries to adjust their travel plans and return home."

The event involved 342 male and female boxers from more than 40 countries, with 77 Olympic spots available.

The action, which started on Saturday, saw Caroline Dubois win her first-round match in front of spectators who were allowed to attend the event for the first two days of competition, despite other sports postponing their fixture lists.

On Sunday, it was announced no spectators would be permitted to attend Monday's morning or afternoon sessions before the subsequent postponement.

Coronavirus - key sporting developments

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