By Tom Degun

Antonio Espinós 1December 19 - World Karate Federation (WKF) President Antonio Espinós believes that his sport will be rewarded with inclusion on the 2020 Olympic programme following years of persistent bidding to join the Games.

Karate 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.

All seven bids were in Lausanne today to present to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Programme Commission in what was the most important phase of the bid race to date.

The WKF delegation in Lausanne was spearheaded by Espinós, who is confident karate can finally secure an Olympic berth after coming close with two previous bids to join the Games in 2005 and 2009.

"We can only say that we have been working very hard for more than a decade to make from our Federation and from our sport a model of organisation and operation," said the 65-year-old from Bilbao in Spain.

"We trust that we will finally get the reward of becoming a sport inside the Olympic programme.

"In 2005 we were about to reach the goal, and the same in 2009.

"2013 shall be the successful one."

The WKF President continued that he feels the IOC were greatly impressed by the 2012 World Karate Championships in Paris last month, which served as the sport's official Evaluation event for the 2020 Olympic Games.

karate 5WKF President Antonio Espinós believes the IOC were impressed by the 2012 World Karate Championships in Paris that they attended last month

The Championships received widespread plaudits after attracting sell-out crowds throughout and Espinós himself, who has been WKF President since 1998, declared the competition in the French capital as 'the best ever'.

"They [the IOC] have seen the best of us in Paris," said Espinós.

"I was in London during the Olympic Games and comparing what one could see there and what has been seen in Paris, it makes us believe that they have appreciated that karate and the WKF are meeting the highest standards."

After a report from the IOC Programme Commission, the full IOC membership will ultimately decide on which sport or sports to include on the 2020 Olympic programme at their Session in Buenos Aires in September 2013.

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