October 11 - The 2012 World Senior Karate Championships in Paris next month will serve as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Evaluation event for the sport's bid to appear at the 2020 Olympic Games, it has been confirmed.
The competition, which will take place in the French capital on November 21-25, is karate's showpiece event and, therefore, a welcome opportunity to be inspected by the IOC.
Karate is one of eight sports bidding to make the 2020 Olympic programme alongside climbing, roller sport, squash, wakeboard, wushu, baseball and softball, with the latter two set to make a joint bid.
World Karate Federation (WKF) President Antonio Espinós admits he is hopeful that the sport will impress in Paris and finally gain entry to the Olympics in what is its third consecutive bid to become part of the Games.
"This is karate's third bid in a row to becoming an Olympic Games programme sport and we truly believe this will be the successful one," Espinós explained.
"We have been learning from the Olympic Movement during former bids and this has allowed us to improve the WKF and karate.
"We have so much to bring to the Olympic Games.
"Karate is an absolutely universal sport; every human being around the globe recognises it and associates our sport to highly positive values.
"This is why the movies and communication industry often include karate in their contents and this is also what makes karate so attractive to sponsors."
The WKF President is also keen to talk up the appeal of the sport to young people around the world.
"Karate is also attractive to youngsters," he said.
"Currently youth comprises 65 per cent of karate practitioners.
"As Karate is a Candidate Sport, the 65 million young karatekas are Candidate Athletes.
"They deserve being in the Games."
After attending a major championships for each of the eight bidding sports by the end of the year, the IOC will compile a report on the merits of each discipline and its bid.
The IOC will then make a final decision on which sport, if any, to include at its Session in Buenos Aires on September 7, 2013.
A maximum of 28 sports is allowed at the Olympic Games at any one time, and this will be reached at Rio 2016 with the inclusion of golf and rugby sevens.
However, it is highly likely that at least one of the seven bid sports will be included in the 2020 Olympic sports programme with the IOC set to remove at least one discipline currently on the sports programme.
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