Karate is extremely popular in France with 250,000 affiliates (WKF)
The following was written by the World Karate Federation and published here in its entirety.
MADRID (SPAIN) – 12 MARCH 2019 - While the wave of support to include Karate in the list of additional sports for the Olympic Games Paris 2024 intensifies, the World Karate Federation continues taking steps against the decision to exclude the discipline from the proposal of added sports which was announced by the Organizing Committee of the 2024 Olympic Games.
"Karate is in a unique situation. It is the only sport in the programme of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games that, regardless of being a world-class power in France, has been excluded from the list of additional disciplines of Paris 2024. This decision has been taken even before giving the sport the opportunity to make its debut in Tokyo," said WKF President Antonio Espinós.
Karate will make its Olympic debut at the Tokyo 2020 Games. This discipline has received with surprise and perplexity the news of its exclusion from the list for Paris 2024, as the decision has been inexplicably made notwithstanding the result of the participation of the discipline in the Olympic event in the Japanese city.
"We cannot be excluded before Tokyo. It is simply not logical to exclude our sport before allowing it to showcase its values in Tokyo and before having enough arguments to evaluate its continuity as an Olympic sport,” added the head of the World Karate Federation.
In addition, the leader of Karate’s international governing body highlighted the tremendous notoriety of Karate in France as the main reason for its inclusion as an additional sport in Paris 2024. French Karate is a major powerhouse of the sport since France is the number 1 nation in Europe and number 2 in the world. Moreover, the sport boasts outstanding popular support in France with 250,000 registered members, 55% of them under 18 years.
"There is no other country where Karate is stronger than in France. It is a sport with tremendous popularity there, it is practiced by hundreds of thousands of youngsters, it has multiple world-class stars and it also registers high numbers of spectators who enjoy its remarkable sporting spirit. For all these reasons, we are surprised and even more outraged by the decision of Paris 2024. We believe that this decision was taken following a process without any guarantees, without clear rules, lacking in transparency, missing all basic values of Fair Play and unfit for current times and for an organization and an event with such a global impact as this. We will not accept it and we will continue fighting until the end for the restoration of our honour and our athletes’ rights," concluded the President of the WKF.