Michael Kassis, President of the Commonwealth Karate Federation (CKF), has used the occasion of the imminent Commonwealth Karate Championships to applaud the place the sport has earned at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, adding that it will inspire continuing efforts to get karate into the Commonwealth Games.
In the official programme for the ninth edition of the Commonwealth Karate Championships that are due to get underway tomorrow in Durban in South Africa, concluding on Sunday (September 3), Kassis said: "I am extremely proud to confirm karate's inclusion into the Tokyo 2020 Olympic programme.
"Finally, our athletes have a pathway to compete at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
"I take this opportunity to thank all those who have worked tirelessly over the years to advocate for this historic decision.
"Furthermore, I can assure you all that the CKF Executive will continue to lobby for the inclusion of karate into the Commonwealth Games.
"These Championships are the showcase of our sport within the Commonwealth and we are again all looking forward to another successful competition here in Durban."
In August last year the venue at the Durban University of Technology was visited by Kassis, his assistant general secretary Bharat Sharma and Karate South Africa (KSA) President Sonny Pillay.
Writing in the programme, Pillay said: "I promise to deliver with the KSA and the guidance of our governing body a world class event that will make our Government and CKF as a whole extremely proud."
The Championships, which were first held in Manchester in 2003, are organised every two years by the CKF as a means of demonstrating that competition karate is suitable for inclusion in the Commonwealth Games.
The event is open to karate federations throughout the Commonwealth that are members of the World Karate Federation.
The competition was expanded at Edinburgh 2008, when an open division was introduced, allowing competitors from outside a national squad to enter.
Further expansion occurred in Johannesburg in 2009 with the introduction of cadet and junior categories in the elite competition.