By Tom Degun

Karate 2January 23 - Karate would be a welcome addition to the 2020 Olympic sports programme despite the fact that there are already several combat sports at the Games, the sport's leader has claimed.

World Karate Federation (WKF) President Antonio Espinós has insisted that there is no reason why the sport should not take its place on the programme alongside boxing, judo and taekwondo. 

"The question I get asked a lot is whether there are too many combat sports on the Olympic programme or if karate would benefit if one of the others was dropped from the core programme," Espinós told insidethegames.

"But we have never thought that there were too many combat sports at the Olympics and more importantly, we have never got the perception from the IOC that there are too many combat sports.

"In the Olympics and the Olympic Movement, there is a place for everybody.

"There are obviously several combat sports at the Olympics but that is because people all around the world like combat sports and participate in them.

"That is certainly not a bad thing for karate."

Karate is currently bidding to join the Olympics in 2020 alongside baseball/softball, roller sports, squash, sports climbing, wakeboard and wushu.
Antonio Espinós 2WKF President Antonio Espinós has claimed karate would be welcome as another combat sport at the Olympic Games

A final decision on which sport will be admitted is due to be made at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in Buenos Aires this September.

But before that, the IOC Executive Board is due to meet in Lausanne on February 12 and 13 to discuss which of the 26 sports that appeared at London 2012 should be removed from the core programme and added to the seven sports currently bidding to be part of 2020.

"We can only say that we have been working very hard for more than a decade to make the WKF and our sport a model of organisation and operation," said Espinós.

Karate last month joined the other bidders in presenting to the IOC Olympic Programme Commission in Lausanne.

"I think through this bidding process and through the presentation we gave to the IOC in Lausanne, we have been able to demonstrate that the WKF has come a very long way as an organisation since we last bid to join the Games and that karate has come a very long way as a sport," Espinós said.

"My impression after our presentation to the IOC is certainly a positive impression."

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