By Tom Degun

Karate World ChampionshipsMarch 1 - The World Karate Federation (WKF) has revealed a number of impressive statistics from the 2012 World Championships that took place in Paris at the end of last year, with a total of 55,000 spectators having attended the five days of competition.

The Championships, declared the "best ever" by WKF President Antonio Espinós, took place at the 16,000-capacity Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy and saw 990 athletes from 116 countries in the French capital for the sport's showpiece event that is staged every two years.

But the competition took on extra importance due to the fact that it was observed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as part of its evaluation of karate's bid to join the 2020 Games sports programme.

A total of 20 countries received a medal at the event, with France topping the medal table, while 280 journalists were accredited for the competition, which was staged on November 20 until 25.

But perhaps most impressive is the television broadcast figures for the event.

"The World Championships were broadcasted in 120 countries through 17 television channels (12 live) through the Eurovision network," said a WKF statement.

"The WKF YouTube channel saw 1,500,000 visits from the rest of the world.

"The WKF's own production in HD (high definition) has made it easier to secure sponsorships, with tree main sponsorships.

"The increasing of the incomes for marketing and karate's rise as a media power means we are part of an unstoppable evolution."

Karate is one of seven bidding to make the 2020 Olympic programme alongside baseball/softball, climbing, roller sport, squash, wakeboard and wushu.

They will be fighting against wrestling, which has been removed from the core programme of sports after Rio 2016 by the IOC Executive Board.

The IOC Session at Buenos Aires in September will decide which sport will be chosen for the 2020 Olympic Games.

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