By Tom Degun

karate 1November 22 - The 2012 World Karate Championships have got off to an impressive start in Paris with 16,000 people in attendance on day one of the sport's showpiece event.

The competition is particularly important for the Worldwide Karate Federation (WFK) as the event is serving as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Evaluation event for the sport's bid to appear at the 2020 Olympic Games.

But the early signs are good for the WKF due to the popularity of the Championships, which are taking place at the magnificent Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy in the French capital.

Around 1,000 karatekas from 114 countries are competing in the event while around 300 journalists are accredited and 17 television stations are from the competition.

"Karate is universal and enjoys a great establishment in the five continents," said WKF President Antonio Espinós following the first day of action.

"It is the combat sport with the highest tradition of those that exist."

karate 2The 2012 World Karate Championships have got off to an impressive start in Paris

The 2012 competition is the 21st edition of the event since it began in Tokyo in 1970 while it is the first time it has been held in Paris since the second edition of the event in 1972.

The five-day competition in the French capital will conclude on Sunday (November 25) while the sport is one of seven bidding to make the 2020 Olympic programme alongside climbing, roller sport, squash, wakeboard, wushu and baseball and softball, who are making a joint bid.

The IOC will make a final decision on which sport or sports to include at their Session in Buenos Aires in September 2013.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

elated stories
November 2012: World Karate Championships get underway in Paris as sport steps up Olympic bid
October 2012: Exclusive - 2012 World Karate Championships to be 2020 IOC Evaluation event
August 2012: Exclusive - Sports bidding for 2020 berth set for IOC evaluation
August 2012: Exclusive - Karate is ready for the Olympics, insists the sport's global chief
June 2012: Exclusive - Karate favourite for inclusion in 2020 Olympics