Spain's Sandra Sanchez is among the qualifiers for Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images

The World Karate Federation (WKF) has announced the first 40 qualifiers for Tokyo 2020, with host nation competitors and the top ranked athletes earning berths at the Games.

A total of 32 places were allocated to the four highest-ranked athletes per gender in each of the Olympic categories, after the qualification window closed following the European Championships last week. 

Japan was allocated a host quota of eight athletes, one per category, as the sport prepares for its Olympic debut.

World number one Damian Quintero of Spain heads the qualifiers for the men's kata event, with second ranked Ryo Kiyuna also qualifying for his home Olympics.

Turkey's Ali Sofuoglu, Venezuela's Antonio Diaz and Mattia Busato of Italy complete the initial qualifiers for the men's kata event.

Spain's Sandra Sanchez and Japan's Kiyou Shimizu head the women's kata qualifiers, with Italy's Vivian Bottaro, Hong Kong's Mo Sheung Grace Lau and United States' Sakura Kokumai completing the top five.

Kazakhstan's Darkhan Assadilov and world champion Steven Dacosta of France lead the men's under-67kg kumite qualifiers, with Italy's Angelo Cresenzo, Egypt's Ali Elsawy and Japan's Naoto Sago also receiving quota places.

Iran's world champion Bahman Asgari Ghoncheh, Italy's Luigi Busa, Azerbaijan's Rafael Aghayev, Ukraine's Stanislav Horuna and Japan's Ken Nishimura will compete in the under-75kg event.

Turkey's Ugur Aktas, Iran's Sajad Ganzjadeh, Germany's Jonathan Horne, Croatia's Ivan Kvesic and Japan's Ryutaro Araga have secured places in the men's over-75kg kumite competition.

The women's under-55kg kumite event is set to feature Turkey's Serap Özçelik, Ukraine's Anzhelika Terliuga, Chinese Taipei's Tzu-Yun Wen, Japan's Miho Miyahara and Iran's Sara Bahmanyar.

World champion Steven Dacosta will compete in the men's under-67kg kumite event ©Getty Images
World champion Steven Dacosta will compete in the men's under-67kg kumite event ©Getty Images

World number one Xioayan Yin of China leads qualifiers for the women's under-61 kumite competition.

She will be joined by Egypt's Giana Lotfy, Serbia's Jovana Prekovic, Turkey's Merve Coban and Japan's Mayumi Someya.

Azerbaijan's Irina Zaretska, Iran's Hamideh Abbasali, China's Li Gong, Turkey's Meltem Hocaoglu Akyol and Japan's Ayumi Uekusa will contest the over-61kg event.

A total of 80 athletes are set to compete in karate's debut appearance at the Olympic Games, split evenly between men and women.

The majority will compete in kumite, with 60 competing in the discipline compared to 20 in kata.

A further 24 athletes will qualify for Tokyo 2020 at the Olympic qualification tournament in Paris, which is scheduled to take place from June 11 to 13.

The remaining 12 additional Olympic berths will be allocated according to continental representation, as well as four awarded via tripartite commission invitation places.

Karate competition at Tokyo 2020 is scheduled to take place from August 5 to 7 at the Nippon Budokan.