Representatives of the World Karate Federation gathered with the media one final time at the Main Press Centre of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games to evaluate the outcome of the first Olympic appearance of the sport. The event was headed by WKF President Antonio Espinós and had the participation of WKF General Secretary Toshihisa Nagura and Tokyo 2020 Karate Sports Manager Toshie Murata.
“We definitively showed the world that Karate is a unique sport and we demonstrated the merits that we have acquired to be added to the Olympic programme as a permanent sport. All the sports fans around the world could enjoy the added values that Karate brings to the Olympic movement,” said WKF President Antonio Espinós.
The closing press conference was an opportunity to reflect on the historic moment of the Olympic debut of the sport.
“I want to thank all those who contributed to reach this moment, from the masters that made the discipline popular to the luminaries who created this organisation to those who worked so hard for Karate’s Olympic inclusion,” said WKF General Secretary Toshihisa Nagura.
No less than 82 competitors from 36 countries including two members of the IOC’s Refugee Team have participated in the Karate Olympic event. Out of the 36 countries represented, 20 nations went home with the medals, with each one of the golds going to a different National Olympic Committee, a testament to the popularity and universality of the sport.
“We have worked very hard over the past four years to make the event a success. Everything we did had the athletes in mind. It was very rewarding to see their great performances over three days. Thank you to all of those who supported us and helped us to make a fantastic event,” said Tokyo 2020 Karate Sport Manager Toshie Murata.
“TIME TO APPEAL TO THE SOLIDARITY OF THE IOC”
The time for Karate to be a permanent Olympic sport is now, WKF President Antonio Espinós reckons. The head of Karate’s international governing body expressed his satisfaction with the outcome of the event and called the International Olympic Committee to reconsider Karate’s continuity in the Olympic programme.
“Now it is time to appeal to the solidarity of the IOC; it is time for the IOC to show a token of recognition to Japan and to a sport with such strong Japanese roots; a sport that has left a worldwide legacy of the Japanese culture and traditions as a result of the successful event these past three days”, said WKF President Antonio Espinós. “In the same way that Karate needs the Olympics, the Olympic Games need Karate.”
Asked about the reasons for Karate’s Olympic permanence, Mr Espinós pointed out the added value that Karate brings to the Olympic movement. “We are in the best situation to continue in the Olympic Games. We will improve as a sport better and faster inside the Olympic movement than outside of it. After our success in Tokyo, the IOC should show solidarity to consider Karate as a permanent Olympic sport,” Mr Espinós added.