SHANGHAI: The inaugural edition of the Olympic Qualifier Series (OQS) has started in Shanghai with an inspiring welcome celebration, which has set the stage for four days of competition and cultural celebration.
Athletes from around the world have arrived in Shanghai to take part in the first stop of the Series, which is a significant milestone on the athletes’ road to Paris 2024.
Held in the centre of the Shanghai Urban Park, the welcome celebration showcased sport and culture, setting the tone for the event, and featured mesmerising performances by some of China’s biggest stars. The evening’s performances included artistic elements incorporating the four OQS sports, while pop singer Zhang Jie interacted with athletes, and Amber Liu Yiyun and Justin Huang Minghao took part in a dynamic song and dance battle. The welcome celebration concluded with Wang Yibo performing “Vibrant Shanghai”, a song produced to celebrate the OQS.IOC Vice-President Ser Miang Ng said: “We are set to witness a unique gathering where athletes from four sports come together in one fantastic urban park. This convergence is a true celebration of athleticism, camaraderie and urban sports culture. The urban sports festival will feature non-stop entertainment, sport try-outs and interactive challenges for fans and athletes alike.”He added a message to the athletes: “To all the athletes, who are coming from all corners of the world: this stage is yours, the ultimate stage on the road to Paris.”The Olympic Qualifier Series will see 464 athletes from 120 national federations competing for the final qualification spots for the Olympic Games Paris 2024 in their sports. The festival-style event will kick off with preliminary sports competition rounds on Thursday and Friday, leading up to a weekend of finals across all four sports. The Urban Park was open for athletes’ training on Tuesday and Wednesday. Giving his first impression of the venue, B-Boy Karam Singh from Great Britain said: “It’s amazing to be around so many incredible athletes from different sports. There are a lot of similarities between the four and the journeys that we’ve been on, so it’s nice to see the athletes from across sports and countries connecting with each other. There is a great vibe of togetherness in the Urban Park! It created an awesome atmosphere and energy for us to be a part of. The arena is incredible too; I can’t wait to get on that stage and perform at my best!”In total, over 150 quota places for Paris 2024 will be allocated following the Series. The OQS employs a points system designed to determine which athletes will secure quota places for Paris 2024.The Urban Park at the Huangpu riverside is set to welcome 15,000 spectators each day over the next four days to watch the action unfold and take part in the urban festival activities. The urban festival complements the sports competition with music, arts and cultural activities that showcase the energy and creativity of Shanghai. Spread across the Urban Park, the festival includes experiences and shows built around the four sports and their culture. Spectators will have the chance to try sports themselves, engage in challenges, meet the Paris 2024 mascots and see the Paris 2024 Olympic torch. The main stage in the centre of the park will host themed shows and music concerts.A detailed schedule featuring competition sessions and timings for the Shanghai stop of the Series is available here. All action will be available live via and the official app.About the Olympic Qualifier SeriesThe OQS, a key project under Olympic Agenda 2020+5, brings together the best athletes in BMX freestyle, breaking, skateboarding and sport climbing in a single urban park. The compact events, held over four days, offer fans an immersive Olympic experience that merges sport, art, music and culture. The Shanghai stop on the Series will be held at the Huangpu riverside from 16 to 19 May 2024, while the Budapest event will take place at the Ludovika Campus from 20 to 23 June 2024. The two-part Series, taking place in the period leading up to the Olympic Games, will be an important step in determining which athletes qualify for Paris 2024.