Karate continues drive for inclusion at Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Karate has stepped up its bid to be added to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games programme, with World Karate Federation (WKF) President Antonio...

Karate has stepped up its bid to be added to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games programme, with World Karate Federation (WKF) President Antonio Espinos saying they are "doing all they can" in order to be included. Under Agenda 2020 - which was unanimously passed at the Extraordinary International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in Monaco in December - there is scope for more sports to be included, with a limit on the number of events rather than the number of sports. The sport was unsuccessful with bids to be a part of London 2012 and Rio 2016 but they remain hopeful of achieving their goal this time around. "Karate is a sport with Japanese roots," Espinos has said. 

"Together with the Japanese Karate Federation, we are doing everything we can to make sure karate is part of the programme in the 2020 Olympics." Espinos also said that the logistics of including karate at an Olympic Games would appeal to the IOC as the sport would not need a specially-built venue and could take place over just three days. The development comes after karate officials in Japan met with the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Prime Ministerial residence in Tokyo in December.

During the meeting, which was described as "fruitful and congenial", the sport's officials were said to have highlighted how much they have promoted karate across the nation and outlined the advantages of having karate at the Olympics. More than 19,000 people have signed a petition in favour of karate's inclusion, and they have also gained the support of Nippon Budo-kan and the Japan Budo Association. The WKF says there are over 100 million practitioners of the sport worldwide and they will go up against the likes of squash, skateboarding and baseball/softball among others for inclusion at the Games. Although a direct timeframe for when new sports could be added has not yet been revealed, Tokyo 2020 announced today that an Additional Event Programme Panel has been established to consider new sports. It is possible final decisions could come as soon as July, during the IOC Session in Kuala Lumpur.



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