Officials from the World Karate Federation (WKF) have met with President of the Japanese Olympic Committee and vice-president of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Tsunekazu Takeda, in a meeting discussing the sport's potential inclusion on the Olympic programme in six years' time.
The Olympic Agenda 2020 review process was high on the agenda as Takeda met with WKF President Antonio Espinós, Japan Karate Federation President Takashi Sasagawa and WKF Executive Committee member Toshihisa Nagura, following the Premier League event that took place in Okinawa recently.
During the meeting, Takeda was assured that karate is ready to make its Olympic Games debut and the sport can guarantee a high level of competition in 2020.
Espinós and Sasagawa stressed that with facilities already in place and the support for karate in the country of its origin, the possible inclusion of the sport for Tokyo 2020 would be a hugely symbolic moment.
Karate had launched a third successive Olympic bid - costing the sport €400,000 (£340,000/$553,000) - for Tokyo, but it failed to even make the shortlist for 2020 which eventually saw wrestling controversially retained ahead of baseball and softball, and squash at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in Buenos Aires last year.
In 2005, after baseball and softball had been dropped, karate and squash both narrowly failed to secure the two-thirds majority necessary at the IOC Session in Singapore to be included on the programme for London 2012.
Then, at the 2009 IOC Session in Copenhagen, karate was beaten by golf and rugby sevens, which had been nominated for Rio 2016 by the Executive Board.
Thomas Bach was elected Jacque Rogge's replacement as IOC President in Buenos Aires and has launched an Agenda 2020 review process.
The German is open to the idea of expanding the number of sports able to join the Olympic programme, which has given fresh hopes to the likes of karate and baseball and softball of being included for Tokyo 2020.
Any potential additions to the programme will be decided at the IOC Extraordinary Session in Monte Carlo on December 6 and 7.
"The WKF is looking forward to the IOC session and the 2020 Olympic Agenda in Monaco in the month of December," said Espinós following the meeting.
"It is our belief that if more flexibility is provided concerning the Olympic programme, it will be a significant opportunity for the sport of karate to finally achieve its inclusion in the Olympic programme.
"It is in this sense also that the WKF further develops its already strong relationships with major leaders of the Olympic Movement."
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