WKF recently celebrated its 50th anniversary ©WKF

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach believes that hosting the Tokyo 2020 Olympics next year will be even more significant to karate after the World Karate Federation (WKF) celebrated its 50th anniversary earlier this month.

WKF commemorated its 50th year on October 10 – the same day that karate's governing body was formed in 1970 in the Japanese capital, prior to the first edition of the Karate World Championships.

Bach believes that the anniversary will be more meaningful having been celebrated prior to the rescheduled Games, where karate is due to make its Olympic debut.

Tokyo 2020 is now scheduled for 2021 after being moved back a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games next year will be an even more significant occasion to highlight your 50th anniversary and to celebrate the power of sport at the home of karate in the historic Nippon Budokan," said Bach in a message to the WKF.

Nippon Budokan Hall is synonymous with Japanese martial arts and will host both karate and judo at the Games.

The venue hosted judo at the Tokyo 1964 Games, while, outside of sport, it has acted as a host for concerts.

The Beatles were the first rock band to play the arena, while other acts such as ABBA, Bob Dylan, Blur and Oasis have also made live recordings at the legendary building.

Thomas Bach has congratulated the WKF on its 50th anniversary ©Getty Images
Thomas Bach has congratulated the WKF on its 50th anniversary ©Getty Images

The inaugural Karate World Championships were also held at the Nippon Budokan.

"I would like to add my heartfelt congratulations on behalf of the Olympic Movement for reaching this important milestone," added Bach.

"You can look back with pride on a period of extraordinary growth and development of karate in the world.

"The close partnership that the IOC enjoys with the WKF has continued to grow and strengthen.

"As we have seen with the unprecedented situation that the world is currently facing with the global coronavirus crisis, we are always stronger together.

"The IOC is privileged to have reliable partners like the WKF at our side as we promote the role of sport as an essential factor in fighting the pandemic and as an integral part of the solution for the crisis recovery."

There will be eight disciplines in karate at the Tokyo Games, with action in the sport currently scheduled for August 5 to 7.

Despite its planned debut at Tokyo 2020, karate has not been selected for a second consecutive Olympic appearance at Paris 2024.