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Karate Canada – RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZILThe Senior Canadian National Team is currently in Rio and ready to shine during the XXXth edition of the Senior Pan American Karate Championships, which gets under way this Thursday, May 26th. The delegation is comprised of 23 athletes, 4 National Team Coaches, two support staff and five internationally-licensed officials from Canada.

On the heels of a historic performance at the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games, where Canada emerged with its highest ever medal tally (2 silver and 2 bronze) at the Games, the Senior Team is now poised for success in Rio, as part of its preparation for the German Open and Senior World Championships, coming later this season. The Pan Am Karate Championships assemble a far greater number of participants than does karate competition at the Pan Am Games, and the event also includes additional events such as team kumite (sparring), individual kata (forms) and team kata.

This season’s Senior National Karate Team offers a great balance of youthful talent and international experience, and Karate Canada expects great results once again. But as Karate Canada’s Executive Director explains, “our foremost priority this year is the Senior World Championships in October (in Linz, Austria), especially as the program sets its sights on likely participation in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Pan Ams will of course always remain important, and we obviously want to perform well at the continental level, but this year’s edition of this event primarily represents one important step in a continued progression and preparation towards higher objectives, to be reached later on in the season.”

Having started her international season with a bronze medal at the WKF Premier League Dutch Open Karate-1 Championships in March, 2015 Pan Am Games and Pan Am Championships silver medalist Kathryn Campbell, (from New Brunswick) is set for continued success in the women’s -55kg kumite division. Likewise, Canada has strong medal hopes for rising star athlete Camélie Boisvenue (68 + kg kumite, from Quebec), who entered the Senior international stage with a huge splash in 2015, having also won silver medals at both the Pan Am Games and Pan Am Championships. Former Pan Am finalist, repeat US Open champion and WKF Premier League Karate-1 Brazil Open champion Kamille Desjardins (also from Quebec) will definitely be a force to reckon with in women’s -61 kg kumite division.

The men’s side also features several strong medal contenders: Sarmen Sinani (who earned four medals in the last 2 editions of Pan Am Championships), Patrice Boily-Martineau (bronze medalist at the 2015 Pan Am Games) and Philippe Soucy (former Pan Am silver medalist) are all firmly intent on climbing onto the podium once again in Rio, in both men’s individual and team kumite divisions. In kata divisions, up-and-coming international competitor Kenneth Lee (who placed in the top 7 at two WKF Premier League Karate-1 Open events within the last year) will be representing Canada, alongside former World Championship bronze medalist and 14- time Senior Canadian National Champion Toshi Uchiage (both from BC).

Team Canada is expected to be facing opposition in the form of National Teams from no less than 23 other countries at this event, which will run from Thursday May 26th to Saturday May 28th inclusively.

The eyes of the world are set on the sport of Karate as it is on the verge of very likely inclusion in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games’ program, to be announced this August, following the International Olympic Committee’s final decision.

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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. See more at www.karatecanada.org.