Sunday,23 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1309, (25 - 31 August 2016)
Sunday,23 September, 2018
Issue 1309, (25 - 31 August 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Already, hope in 2020

Going by history, Egypt could do well in karate in the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games after it was recently introduced in the Olympics along with four other new sports, Abeer Anwar reports

Al-Ahram Weekly

Karate will make its first appearance as an Olympic sport at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The 129th session of the International Olympic Committee held in Rio de Janeiro decided to incorporate karate in 2020. The decision represents a ground-breaking moment for this ancient discipline. The hopes and dreams of millions of karatekas around the world have come true. After hundreds of years of history of this sport, and following many years of hard work by the World Karate Federation (WKF), the karate family has finally fulfilled their dream of seeing the discipline in the Olympic Games. This will happen in Tokyo, the capital city of the birth nation of the sport.

In 2015, karate was featured on a shortlist along with baseball, softball, skateboarding, surfing and sport climbing to be considered for inclusion in the 2020 Summer Olympics. On 1 June 2016, the IOC’s executive board announced they were supporting the inclusion of all five sports (counting baseball and softball as only one sport) for inclusion in the 2020 Games.

In its press release, the IOC described the decision as “the most comprehensive evolution of the Olympic programme in modern history”.

IOC President Thomas Bach said, “We want to take sport to the youth. With the many options that young people have, we cannot expect any more that they will come automatically to us. We have to go to them. Taken together, the five sports are an innovative combination of established and emerging, youth-focused events that are popular in Japan and will add to the legacy of the Tokyo Games.”

Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori said, “The inclusion of the package of new sports will afford young athletes the chance of a lifetime to realise their dreams of competing in the Olympic Games – the world’s greatest sporting stage – and inspire them to achieve their best, both in sport and in life.”

WKF President Antonio Espinós expressed the joy of millions of karatekas around the world after the decision of the IOC to include karate in Tokyo 2020. “Who could have believed that when we had our first world championships in 1970 in Nippon Budokan, that 50 years later we would come back to Nippon Budokan for the Olympic Games,” declared Espinós in the media briefing after the decision.

“We would like to thank the organising committee of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games because without them it would have been impossible for us to be here. We will work as much as we can since we have the vocation to be an Olympic sport. We are convinced that we will give added value to the Olympic Games,” Espinós said.

Ayman Abdel-Hamid, Egyptian Karate Federation (EKF) president, also commented on the historic decision. “It is a great achievement that we have been waiting for since a long time. It is a dream that came true and we hope we will be able to dazzle the whole world with the karatekas performance in Tokyo 2020. We have to work hard as Egyptians are world champions and we need to see our players as Olympian champions next time.”

Egypt would stand a decent chance of winning karate medals in the Olympics. It took first place in the Arab Championship held last week in Jordan with a total of 15 medals: nine gold, three silver and three bronze while Saudi Arabia ranked second with a total of seven medals: four gold and three bronze and Jordan in third place with 13 medals: two gold, five silver and six bronze.

“It is a great achievement that paves the way to more success in the Mediterranean Championship that will take place in September and it gives our Egyptian players the chance to play with more players from around the world as preparation for the World League event that will take place in Germany next month,” said Mustafa Fekri, head of the media committee at the EKF.

Egypt also finished second in the 2016 FISU World University Karate Championship held in Braga, Portugal after their victory in the female team kumite. Spearheaded by star Giana Lotfi, Egypt beat Chinese Taipei in the final to wrap up the event with a tally of four gold medals, one silver and eight bronze.

Japan claimed the top position of the final standings in Braga and extended their domination in the event. Japanese Karatekas finished the tournament with nine medals -- five gold -- and repeated the first place earned in Montenegro in 2014.

France earned third place of the memorable event that showcased the rising stars of the sport. Spanish karatekas continued their domination in the modality and the female team kata event, beating Portugal.

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