Wednesday,19 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1265, (8 - 14 October 2015)
Wednesday,19 September, 2018
Issue 1265, (8 - 14 October 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Egypt and karate the winners

Egypt captured the 24th Mediterranean Karate Championship, Abeer Anwar attended in Alexandria

Al-Ahram Weekly

With a total of 62 medals -- 31 gold, 23 silver and 13 bronze medals -- Egypt took first place and the title of the 24th Mediterranean Championship that Alexandria, the pearl of the Mediterranean Sea, hosted from 3-4 October. Morocco came in second place with 19 medals and Tunisia third with 13.

The last time the tournament was played in Egypt was in 1992, the first time Alexandria hosted the event.

The current championship had players from Greece, Cyprus, Palestine, Lebanon, Tunisia, Libya, Morocco, Turkey and Spain, in addition to host Egypt.

Youssef Al-Sharif, president of the Mediterranean Karate Federation and vice president of both the World Karate Federation and the African Federation, attended the 1992 version in Alexandria. “But this time the event is really gorgeous. It is very well organised and with such a number of competing countries, it was good contact and preparation for the World Championship” that will take place in November in Indonesia.

It was not only a competition in Alexandria but a big celebration after the Tokyo 2020 Olympics announced it had agreed to include karate as an official sport among five sports to be introduced for the first time. Three weight categories for both men and women will be included together with a kata event for men and women.

“I am extremely happy that I had the chance to witness such a decision by Tokyo 2020 when I am still here,” Antonio Espinos, head of the World Karate Federation (WKF), who attended the Mediterranean championship, said.

“It is a great achievement that we have longed for. We thought that we will be included in the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics but we didn’t lose hope when we didn’t. We kept on trying until we were able to achieve it.”

Espinos added that he was pleased to be in Alexandria to attend the competition. “The opening ceremony was fantastic as it addressed all the participating countries. And the competition was very well organised. I am very happy to visit a city such as Alex because it is full of civilisation and one of the best cities I have visited.”

Ayman Abdel-Hamid, Egyptian Karate Federation president, said, “We were happy to organise the 24th edition of the Mediterranean competition after  a long absence to send a message to the whole world that Egypt is safe and peaceful, opening its arms to all cultures and civilisations.

“We are also pleased that at last karate, which is considered the fastest spreading sport in the world, will be present in the Tokyo Olympics. It is a golden chance for us and all karate players to show the world the best of karate. Judo and taekwondo have been in the Olympics for a long time but we want to show the whole world that karate is different with its kata performance.”

Web Japan claims there are 50 million karate practitioners worldwide while the World Karate Federation says there are 100 million practitioners around the world.

Abdel-Hamid said the technical committee at the WKF will meet alongside the World Championship to decide on how the players will qualify to the Olympics and the new regulations that will be applied.

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