WKF Congress highlights bright future for Karate
The 2021 WKF Congress was held Monday in Dubai (UAE). The family of WKF Karate gathered physically for the first time since the pandemic outbreak to celebrate the unity of the sport and the bright future for Karate.
The outstanding presentation of the sport at the Olympic Games was one of the main points of the agenda, as the WKF strives to use the Olympic experience to continue reaching greater heights.
After an emotional tribute to the WKF members who passed away since the last Madrid WKF Congress in 2018, the session started with WKF President Antonio Espinós reviewing the main milestones of the sport over that period.
Among Karate’s many achievements, Mr Espinós hailed the presentation of the sport at the Games as a “big success”.
“We demonstrated the sporting spirit and the greatness of Karate in our Olympic presentation. The whole world could see the tremendous added value that we bring to the Olympic movement,” said WKF President Antonio Espinós.
The head of Karate’s international governing body dedicated his opening speech to analyse the WKF’s strategy to ensure the Olympic continuity of Karate.
"It is a very difficult target, but as we are going to do as we always do, we will continue fighting and working," Mr Espinós said.
"The Paris 2024 setback has taught us that nothing is easy. But we hope that the IOC and the Organising Committee of Paris 2024 have now a clear view of the level of the injustice of the exclusion of Karate from the Paris 2024 Games. It is not that we have not been added; we have been excluded.”
Mr. Espinós also highlighted WKF’s efforts to gain inclusion in the Los Angeles 2028 sports programme as a permanent sport.
The review of the finances of the organisation, the permanent disaffiliation and affiliation of members, and reports from upcoming events were also discussed. Additionally, the Congress ratified the bid of the city of Venice (Italy) and the Italian Karate Federation to organise the 2024 World Cadet, Junior & U21 Championships.
WKF’S NEW STRATEGIC PLAN
The WKF Congress approved WKF’s plan to revamp the Senior World Championships. According to the WKF’s Strategic plan, which was presented today, Karate’s biggest event will be split between individual and team World Championships.
The individual events will introduce a preliminary phase and a final phase which will be held in alternate years, with the categories limited to 32 competitors in each division and the round-robin system as the competition format.
“This modification will substantially help the progress of the athletes as they will have more opportunities to participate at the highest level. Under the current format, 50% of the competitors are eliminated after the first bout in World Championships, this has to be reconsidered,” WKF President Antonio Espinós said.
The qualification to the final round will be achieved through standings, continental championships, past World Championships, host country quota, universality places, as well as a direct qualification tournament.
WKF President Antonio Espinós said:
“With the unity that we showed today and the common goals that we have shared here at this Congress, I am convinced that we can continue achieving great targets.
“We have accomplished so much over the years. I am sure that we will continue demonstrating that Karate is a modern, universal, and world-leading sport.”