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  • World Karate chief hoping for the “perfect” World Championships in Dubai

World Karate chief hoping for the “perfect” World Championships in Dubai


Antonio Espinos, President of World Karate Federation (WKF), reckons the 2020 Karate World Championships in Dubai will be one of the most significant events in the history of the sport as they try to impress the powers that be in a bid to retain their place at the Olympic Games. Battling for a place at the Olympics since 1970, karate will make their first appearance at the Summer Olympics in 2020 Tokyo, but their seat at the 2024 Games in Paris will be up for vote at the International Olympic Council’s Executive Board in December, 2020. The 2020 Karate World Championships, which are scheduled to be held in November, will then be the sport’s final opportunity to impress the Olympic bosses and Mr Espinos is confident Dubai will live up to their reputation and get the job done. “This is one event that we need to be perfect,” said Mr Espinos after witnessing H.E. Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council (DSC), and H.E. Major General Nasser Abdul Razaq Al Razooqi, President of UAE Karate Federation, sign a Memorandum of Understanding between the two organisations for the hosting of the 2020 Karate World Championships at DSC’s office on Monday. “The World Championships is our single biggest event. It is held every two years and nearly 120 member associations and 1,200 take part in it. But the 2020 World Championships become even bigger because the International Olympic Council will meet towards the end of that year to decide the list of sports that will be a part of the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. “So delivering the perfect World Championships in Dubai, along with our performance at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, will be critical. It is a big responsibility, but I am confident we will, together with Dubai Sports Council and the UAE Karate Federation, deliver a great World Championships in 2020 to not only strengthen the position of karate as a sport, but also help it grow.” Dubai will be the first city in the GCC to host the biennial Karate World Championships and only the second Middle Eastern city to do so, after the Egyptian capital of Cairo which hosted the World Championships in 1988. “It is a great honour for us to be the first city in the Gulf region to host the 2020 Karate World Championships, which incidentally is the 25th edition of this hugely popular event,” said Mr Hareb. “It is going to be a very important edition of the Karate World Championships and being chosen to host this special event only confirms Dubai’s position as one of the preferred destinations for the world’s top sporting events. “In 2020, Dubai will also be hosting the World Expo, so the athletes coming here for the World Championships, along with the travelling officials and fans, will enjoy the incredible atmosphere that the Expo will generate. “The presence of these top athletes, of course, will be a boost for karate in the UAE, inspiring our youngsters to take up this fantastic sport, which is not just a means of staying physically active but is also hugely beneficial on the mental side, improving your focus, discipline, mental toughness and confidence. “We want to encourage our youngsters to embrace different sports and the Karate World Championships will certainly assist us in our endeavours.” Al Razooqi, on his part, thanked His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Sports Council, His Excellency Mattar Al Tayer, the Vice Chairman of DSC, and Saeed Hareb for their continuous support for the sport of karate in general and the 2020 Karate World Championships in particular. “Thanks to their generous support, we have been able to bring this World Championships to Dubai, despite stiff competition from a number of other cities,” he said. “Of course, hosting the World Championships here is part of our long-term strategy to promote this sport in our country and around the region. “We know how important these Championships are for the sport, as Mr Espinos pointed out, so there is going to be a great responsibility on us as hosts. But we are ready for this challenge because as you know, Dubai is a city of challenges and we always deliver.”