Friday,21 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1224, (4 - 10 December 2014)
Friday,21 September, 2018
Issue 1224, (4 - 10 December 2014)

Ahram Weekly

Traditional win

Egypt took the 17th World Traditional Karate Championship. Abeer Anwar saw it all up close

Al-Ahram Weekly

With a total of 44 medals —15 gold, 12 silver and 17 bronze — Egypt took first place in the 17th World Traditional Karate Championship for the first time in its history, adding a new achievement in a new sport that came to Egypt as late as 1983.

At Cairo Stadium, Egypt hauled in 44 medals followed by France in second place and Portugal in third.

Egypt’s national team comprised 35 players: 25 men and 10 women.

Egypt hosted the first edition of the championship in 1983. This was the second time after a 31-year absence.

More than 25 countries participated in the two-day event, including Portugal, Macedonia, Algeria, Cyprus, Sudan, Palestine, Canada and Russia.

Vladimir Jorga, chairmain of the European Traditional Karate Federation, told Al-Ahram Weekly that the preparations for the competition was excellent. “It is a great push for traditional karate. We had feared nothing when we came to Egypt. On the contrary, our athletes had a golden chance to practice and compete in front of the Giza Pyramids, one of the world’s wonders.”

George Jergenson, International Traditional Karate Federation (ITKF) chairman, added, “I need to thank all ministries that gave a hand in making such a dream a reality. We felt we are well taken care of and secured all over our visit to Egypt. Traditional karate is the path of human development and it teaches us strength and respect to face our opponent. We compete but at the end we leave each other as friends.”

Thirty-one Egyptian referees were accredited as international referees, six of whom are women, during a refereeing course held alongside the championship.

Heather Nelson, technical manager and an athlete on the Canadian national team, said she was excited being in Egypt for the first time. “It is a great honour for me to be here in Egypt. Although we were afraid to come all that distance we were able to do it. I thank it is the safest place on earth. We visited the Pyramids, Tahrir Square and the Egyptian Museum. It’s fantastic and I saw nothing related to instability or insecurity. As to competitions, it is well organised and I hope the Canadian team will have better results the next time as we weren’t able to compete for the first three places.”

Khaled Abu Geith, head of the Palestinian delegation: “We cut a long distance and a long journey, 14 hours, due to security measures to be able to participate in the event but we are enjoying being here. My team which consists of eight players did their best to try and snatch medals but we have just been accredited by the ITKF as a federation and there is a long way to go. I visit Egypt a lot to train with Sensei Ibrahim Al-Marhoumi (head of the Egyptian, Arab and African Traditional Karate Federation). I’ve attended 14 international training courses as our federation has been established in 2004 but wasn’t accredited except this year.

“You know the fighting spirit of Palestinians so we have a large number of athletes but they are still in progress due to the conditions Palestine is suffering from. The championship is very well organised and the efforts of the ETKF are very clear.”

Romulo Machado, a member of the board of directors of the ITKF and head of the Portuguese Federation, said his athletes were “not bad but we suffered some organisational faults so we have to get back to the drawing board.

“The competitions are so strong and we are enjoying our stay. We felt how stable Egypt is in contradiction to what we see on TV screens.”

Al-Marhoumi expressed his gratitude to all Egyptian ministries that gave a hand in organising the event and expressed his happiness that Egypt was able to get first place. “We have been working hard for months preparing for such an event and I am very happy that Egypt was able to be crowned as winner especially at such a time, sending a message to all countries that Egypt is and will always be stable and secure.

“Also the organisation was appreciated by all the participants and organising such an event with such a huge number of countries and athletes might witness some faults which I really apologise for but we did our best and I will continue to work hard to spread the sport all over the African and Arab countries.”

Al-Marhoumi also announced that the Egyptian national team will take part in the African Championship in Congo Brazzaville and that Egypt will bid to host the 2015 World Cup in Hurghada.

He also promised to hold the first Arab championship in March.

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