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Karate Will Finally be an Olympic Sport in Tokyo 2020

The assembly of the International Olympic Committee has unanimously approved the inclusion of five new sports for the next Olympic Games, with karate being one of them. All these years, within the Olympics, there had been competitions of only two martial arts: Judo (since 1964, women since 1992) and Taekwondo (since 2000).

So, why wasn’t karate included?

The reasons might seem a simple matter of logistics and money since in the Olympics there are a maximum number of events (28) in order to fit the budget. Baseball, for example, was eliminated a long time ago because it was expensive to keep in the list, and in 2005 there was a vote to replace it in the 2012 London Olympics, whose finalists were Karate and Squash, but none of these sports got the two-thirds of the necessary votes.

Another practical reason other martial arts had prevailed over karate in the Olympic Games is that in Judo and Taekwondo, a global agreement has been reached on what the rules and scoring system are. In contrast, within Karate, there are different groups and each has variations in their style and it’s too difficult to organize them in a uniform way, despite the efforts of the World Karate Federation to reach agreements on this matter.

In the Games of the XXXII Olympiads, we’re seeing something that had never happened before. Finally, karate gets to be an Olympic discipline. That’s some happy news that made many cheer from their dojos all over the world. Since it’s a global sport, practiced by over 100 million people in 192 countries and territories on the five continents, the news is highly celebrated. Some allegations of the past indicated that there was fear on the part of the committees in charge of deciding which sports will be included in the competitions since karate is considered a violent and even dangerous sport. But the truth is that being a martial art derived from ancient techniques of unarmed combat, which provides a great spiritual wealth and self-control practitioner, the risk of death or serious injury during a high-level competition like this is practically zero.

According to the proposal approved in Tokyo, a female test (for 10 athletes) and one for males (for 10 more) of kata and three weight categories by sex (for a total of 60) in kumite will be played on this Games. This distribution reduces the 5 weight categories that are common on the official karate competitions.

Nowadays, karate, which was born as a method of self-defense, has also been established as a form of personal improvement. It’s interesting to see the great contributions that the values of this sport can add to this competition. Anyway, this recognition is appreciated and brings pride and joy to all federations. So, it’s easy to understand the joy that overwhelms those who practice it, who will finally be able to dream of an Olympic medal over their karate-gi for their achievements. Hopefully karate will be an Olympic discipline for now on.

Posted In Blog, Olympic Sport

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