Saeed Hareb (left), General Secretary of Dubai Sports Council, and Major General Naser Abdul Razaq Al Razouqi (right), with WKF President Antonio Espinosa during signing the agreement. Image Credit: DSC

Dubai: The president of the World Karate Federation (WKF) has hailed the vital role and significance of Dubai while hosting the silver jubilee edition of the Karate World Championships here in 2020.

Dubai will become the first city in the Gulf region to host the biennial WKF World Senior Championships at the Hamdan Sports Complex sometime in November 2020, and Antonio Espinosa, president of WKF, saw the important role played by Dubai in raising the stakes for karate especially at the international level.

The 24th WKF World Senior Championships — karate’s top event will take place at the WiZink Centre sports hall in Madrid from November 6 to 11 making this competition the most important tournament ahead of Karate’s debut at the Olympic Games Tokyo in 2020.

“This is one event we need to be perfect. We simply can’t fail as we expect nearly 120 federations consisting of more than 1,200 athletes will come together for this important competition,” Espinosa told media in the presence of Saeed Hareb, General Secretary, DSC and Major General Nasser Abdul Razaq Al Razouqi, president of UAE Karate Federation at the Dubai Sports Council (DSC), on Monday.

“The event is big and equally big is the responsibility of hosting it, and I am sure that today after visiting the Hamdan Sports Complex, I hope we will be able to start our preparations to host a successful championship. This event is also important for WKF as the executive board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will take a final decision on our sport for the 2024 Olympic Games based on how we fare at the 2020 Olympics and the Dubai World Karate Championships,” he added.

Karate will make its debut appearance at the Summer Olympics in 2020 in Tokyo. The sport will feature two events — Kumite and Kata — with 60 competitors from around the world allowed to compete in the Kumite competition and 20 in the Kata. Both divisions of the competition will be split equally between men and women.

“It is a great honour for us to be the first city in the Gulf region to host the 2020 Karate World Championships, which incidentally is the 25th edition of this hugely popular event,” Saeed Hareb, General Secretary, DSC said.

“Earlier during the year, Karate will make its Olympics debut in Tokyo. So it is going to be special edition of the Karate World Championships that will once again prove Dubai’s position as one of the preferred destinations for the world’s top sporting events,” he added.

The hosting of the Karate World Championships will coincide with the 2020 World Expo in Dubai. “The athletes coming here for the World Championships, along with the officials and fans, will be witness to a momentous occasion in our history and I am sure they will enjoy the incredible atmosphere that the Expo will generate,” Hareb said.

“The presence of these top athletes, of course, will be a boost for karate in the UAE, inspiring our youngsters to take up this fantastic sport, which is not just a means of staying physically active but is also hugely beneficial on the mental side, improving your focus, discipline, mental toughness and confidence,” he added.

The Egyptian capital of Cairo was the only city in the Middle East to host the World Karate Championships earlier, but that was way back in 1988.