WKF President welcomes sports dignitaries at Nippon Budokan
A host of top sports officials visited Nippon Budokan
A host of top sports officials visited Nippon Budokan today to witness Karate’s Olympic debut. WKF President Antonio Espinós welcomed the dignitaries at the home of Olympic Karate as the thrilling competition reached the second day of action.
Following IOC President Thomas Bach’s visit yesterday, several members of the International Olympic Committee have travelled to Nippon Budokan to celebrate the historic moment of Karate’s first Olympic appearance.
Spain’s Juan Antonio Samaranch witnessed the memorable moment of Karate’s first gold medal yesterday which incidentally was taken by compatriot Sandra Sanchez. IOC member Samaranch handed over the gold medal to Sanchez in the Female Kata victory ceremony. Meanwhile, IOC member and ANOC Secretary General Gunilla Lindberg of Sweden also attended the Karate competition on day 1.
The second day of the tournament in Tokyo saw IOC member and IOC Executive Board member Nawal El Moutawakel of Morocco enjoying the action from the tatami at Nippon Budokan. With IOC Sports Director Kit McConnell also in attendance, sports top officials could follow the highly impressive Male Kata competition, as local hero Ryo Kiyuna faces World ranking leader Damian Quintero of Spain in the final.
With Fiji’s Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee President Makarita Lenoa, who is a member of the WKF Executive Committee in attendance, Acting ANOC President Robin Mitchell also from Fiji took time to follow the Karate competition on site. In addition to Male Kata, the tournament had the categories of Female Kumite -61kg and Male Kumite -75kg in contest.
Also IOC member Aicha Garad Ali who is the President of the National Olympic Committee of Djibouti travelled to Nippon Budokan together with the President of the National Karate Federation Abdoulkader Bourhan Kanano to witness Karate's debut.
The list of members of the IOC in attendance today is completed by Nicole Hoeverstsz of Aruba who is the IOC Vicepresident and who watched the stars of Karate in action.
“I want to thank all the members of the IOC who came to Nippon Budokan today to share this historic moment with us. It is a privilege and an honour for us to feel that our sport is so respected and well-considered among the high-ranking sports officials. We always put the principles of Karate to the service of the Olympic movement, and I hope that the members of the IOC on-site today enjoyed the added value that Karate brings to the Olympic movement as an Olympic sport,” said WKF President Antonio Espinós.
(Top Picture: From left to right: WKF General Secretary Toshihisa Nagura, Fiji’s Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee President and WKF Executive Committee member Makarita Lenoa, Acting ANOC President Robin Mitchell, and WKF President Antonio Espinós)
From left to right: WKF Athletes’ Commission Chairman Davide Benetello, IOC Sports Director Kit McConnell and WKF President Antonio Espinós
WKF President Antonio Espinós and IOC Executive Board member Nawal El Moutawakel
IOC Vicepresident Nicole Hoeverstsz and WKF President Antonio Espinós (seated) with IOC Executive Board member Nawal El Moutawakel
From left to right, WKF President Antonio Espinós, IOC member Aicha Garad Ali and Djbouti National Karate Federation President Abdoulkader Bourhan Kanano