Karate added into Olympics

August 4, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo

On August 3 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) held a meeting and voted to add 18 events in five new sports including Karate, which originated in Okinawa, to the next Olympics to be held in Tokyo 2020. Baseball, softball, skateboarding, surfing, and climbing will also be added. It will be the first time Karate has featured at the Olympics.

The IOC voted by a show of hands and reached a unanimous decision. It is the first time ever for a host city to introduce new sports to the Games.

The IOC President Thomas Bach said the change to the Olympic program is groundbreaking.

For karate, there will be a total of eight events including “kata” by gender, and three levels of “kumite” by gender. Receiving the news, Okinawa Karatedo Federation held a press conference on August 4 at Okinawa Amateur Sports Association Hall. The All Japan Karatedo Federation also held a press conference on August 4, and Ryo Kiyuna from Okinawa joined the conference.

Medalist from Okinawa

President Koei Teruya of Okinawa Karatedo Federation said, “Okinawan karate practitioners’ competitiveness will improve by the time of the Tokyo Olympics. Karate is a treasure of Okinawa. We will push for rules to be defined clearly and we will aim to develop instructors and players. The Federation will support practitioners from Okinawa as they strive to get to the Tokyo Olympics to win a medal.”

To represent Japan

Ryo Kiyuna (Ryueiryu Ryuhoukai), who reached the top of “kata” at the KARATE 1 Premium League Okinawa and All Japan Championship said, “It was my dream from childhood to compete in karate at the Olympics. I will practice harder to be chosen as a Japanese representative for the Tokyo Olympics.”

(English translation by T&CT and Megumi Chibana) 

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