More than 250 competitors took part in a national youth championships in Belarus, as karate aims to gradually "return to normality" ©Alexander Shelegov/Belarus Karate Federation

Belarus has successfully hosted a national youth championships featuring more than 250 competitors, an event the World Karate Federation (WKF) hope will signal the start of the sport "going back to normal."

The 2020 Belarus Youth Karate Championships, held at the Republican State School of Olympic Reserve sports hall in Minsk was the first official national karate tournament in the country following the coronavirus lockdown.

In total, 257 young karatekas representing 34 karate organisations competed across the Kumite and Kata disciplines.

Across the two day event, 33 medals were awarded to athletes.

The competition was organised by the Belarus Karate Federation who provided insidethegames with details of the steps they took to ensure the safety and well-being of participants.

The measures taken included the use of a zoning and accreditation system at the venue, the wearing of protective masks and use of disinfectant, distance measures between athletes, the checking of athletes body temperatures and a timetable created to ensure an organised arrival of teams at the venue.

Organisers said the zoning system ensured "all client groups {athletes and coaches, referees and staff, spectators} were strictly separated" and "admission to each zone was only carried out by accreditation."

Regarding hygiene all staff and volunteers wore protective masks, while at the entrance it was suggested "all participants should treat their hands with special disinfectant."

Regarding distance measures, all dressing rooms throughout the facility were used to avoid athletes gathering in large groups. 

Following the youth competition, a media conference was held to discuss topics including the development of karate in Belarus ©Alexander Shelakov/Belarus Karate Federation
Following the youth competition, a media conference was held to discuss topics including the development of karate in Belarus ©Alexander Shelakov/Belarus Karate Federation

Athletes body temperatures were checked during the weigh-in period using an electronic thermometer while the timetable of events was arranged to ensure staggered arrivals and to avoid congestion at the entrance of the venue.

Organisers said in a statement: "This useful experience will be very valuable in the organisation of future tournaments. 

"Compliance with these steps along with any additional safety measures can guarantee the well-being of all participants in the next karate events."

The WKF added in a statement provided to insidethegames: "The WKF is pleased to note that more and more karate events are taking place in many countries around the world and that these events are being held following the recommendations of national authorities and WKF COVID-19 guidelines. 

"The event in Belarus, like many others which are currently being held, are great examples of karate going back to normal."

After the tournament, a media conference was held at the venue led by Belarus Karate Federation President George Katulin. 

Among the topics covered were the development of the sport in Belarus.

The WKF has been forced to cancel several international competitions due to the pandemic, and last month the governing body announced that the 2020 and 2021 seasons would be merged into one, as a result of the disruption to the sport's calendar this year.