The Japan Water Polo Federation has decided not to send a women’s team to the 2024 World Aquatics Championships in Doha, Qatar, meaning that they also won’t qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
Kyodo News in Japan is citing budgetary constraints as the reason for the decision.
Japan was qualified to the World Championships as the runner-up of the Asian Games a month ago.
Japan placed 14th out of 16 teams at the 2023 World Championships in women’s water polo ahead of Asian counterparts Kazakhstan and Argentina. They were automatically qualified to that tournament as the World Championship hosts, as they were at the 2021 Olympics when they finished 9th out of 10 teams.
The decision robs the World Championships of one of the most prolific scorers from the last edition, 26-year-old Yumi Arima. She amassed 19 goals in 5 games, including 7 in a group stage matchup against powerhouses Hungary.
Brazil’s women’s team made a similar decision at the 2023 World Aquatics Championships, also citing budgetary constraints.
The Kazakhstan women finished 3rd at the Asian Games, and should, in theory, supplant the Japanese women’s team.
The Japanese men won the Asian Games title, automatically qualifying them for both the World Championships and the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. The Japanese men placed 11th at last year’s World Championships.