Damian Quintero has hailed the IOC Executive Board decision to recommend karate for inclusion at Tokyo 2020 ©WKF

Spain’s Damian Quintero has hailed the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board’s recommendation to include karate as an Olympic sport at Tokyo 2020 as a “big step”.

The karateka is considered one of the sport’s star names as he currently boasts the world title in the men’s kata team event, while he secured his seventh European title earlier this season.

Quintero, who has enjoyed multiple successes during this year’s World Karate Federation (WKF) Karate1-Premier League season, was one of several athletes to speak out in support of the IOC decision.

Karate was approved alongside baseball and softball, sport climbing, skateboarding and surfing for inclusion in Tokyo, with each sport approved in the same form as they were first proposed by Japanese organisers last year.

A total of 60 karatekas now appear set compete in six kumite sparring and two kata demonstration categories at the Olympics in the Japanese capital.

Approval must still be given by the IOC membership during the Session in Rio de Janeiro in August, although this is widely expected to be a formality.

“The world of karate is now counting the days to the approval of the IOC Session in August, and for some karatekas there is only one thing to do,” said Quintero.

“This is a big step in the way to our dream, and I am sure that our beloved sport will be in the Olympic Games.

“So, cross your fingers and go for Tokyo 2020.”

Karate is one of five sports which have been recommended for inclusion
Karate is one of five sports which have been recommended for inclusion ©Getty Images

The World Karate Federation (WKF) have also claimed that the move has received widespread support in Japan.

It followed the Executive Board stating that the five proposed sports represented “a combination of well-established and emerging sports with significant popularity in Japan and beyond”.

Japanese world champion Kiyou Shimizu believes the reaction has been positive in the country and expects karate to continue to experience growth in the region.

“Karate is our life and now we have the opportunity to promote our sport more and more; dream, hope and share to live impressive moments in Tokyo 2020,” she said.