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Karate Canada – Montreal, June 1, 2016 – The world and Canadian sport karate communities are rejoicing upon receiving news from Lausanne today that the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has formally supported the proposal to add the package of five new sports, including karate, to the program of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. While this remains subject to a final decision to be made by the IOC membership during its Session in Rio de Janeiro in August, this is by most accounts expected to represent a mere formality, with the vote constituting a simple approval or disapproval of the entire package.

The inclusion of these five new sports would add 18 events and 474 athletes to the Olympic program in Tokyo, without impacting existing sports. The package promotes gender equality, with each of the five sports boasting equal numbers of teams for men and women, while also focusing on innovative and exciting sports for Japan and the wider international community. It is expected that the sport of karate will be represented by total of 80 athletes, set to compete in six kumite (sparring) and two kata (forms) divisions.

This momentous news represents the culmination of years of dedicated work by the World Karate Federation towards integration in the Olympic Games’ program, and is very promising news for millions of WKF-affiliated karatekas around the globe. “People are generally very surprised to find out that karate is not yet an Olympic sport, and most naturally assume that it already is, as perhaps the most widely practiced and most easily recognized combat sport and martial art on the planet. Inclusion in the Tokyo 2020 program would set this right, and help ensure that the sport and its amazing athletes finally get all the visibility and recognition that they deserve” says Olivier Pineau, Karate Canada’s Executive Director. “It is already a hugely popular sport in most parts of the world.”

“These are very exciting and historic times for the sport of karate, and for the entire karate community” adds Karate Canada’s President Mr. Craig Vokey. “Karate Canada has been improving its National Team and high performance programs in order to prepare and to be ready for this, and we expect to have some very strong contenders towards participation in the Tokyo 2020 Games.”

Canada’s National Karate Team, which features a great blend of experience and emerging talent, has achieved landmark results over the last couple of years, including its best-ever performance at the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games, as well as medals at Karate-1 world cup circuit events and at the latest Junior World Championships. The Senior National Team has its sights set on the upcoming World Championships, which will take place in Linz, Austria, in October, and are expected to assemble close to 1,000 athletes from over 115 countries.

About Karate Canada:

Karate Canada is a not-for-profit corporation constituted under Part II of the Canada Corporations Act, with the objective of describing and incorporating all activities related to the promotion, organization, regulation and popularization of the sport of karate all over Canada, of protecting the physical and emotional health of athletes, and of promoting the interests of karate throughout Canada. Karate Canada and its 10 member Provincial and Territorial Associations assemble roughly 16,000 participants nationwide. Furthermore, Karate Canada is a proud member of the Canadian Olympic Committee, the World Karate Federation and the Pan American Karate Federation.

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