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

Dubai: The president of the UAE Karate Federation (UAE KF) has confided that the sustenance of the annual Karate1 Premier League (K1PL) in the UAE will better the sport in the region in the near future.

Dubai will once again be the second stop on the annual Karate1 Premier League calendar when the event is hosted here from February 15-17. Major General Nasser Abdul Razaq Al Razouqi, president of UAE Karate Federation felt that the annual competition — now in its fourth year — has its role to play in lifting the profile of karate further.

“This is one of the few opportunities our athletes get to compete in a truly international field. They learn and they grow and challenge some of the best fighters from other parts of the world,” Al Razooqi told media at the Dubai Sports Council (DSC) premises, on Monday.

“This competition also gives a unique opportunity for our athletes and clubs to meet and exchange vital information related to our sport. Last year, we hosted the best of these competitions where our athletes were among the serious contenders for medals and honours. Since the league is held early during the year teams and athletes have used this competition to kick-start their preparations for the remainder of the season. This can only mean that the league has gone on to help in the development of karate here,” he added.

Initiated in 2011, the K1PL was first launched in 2013 with two tournaments held in Paris and Istanbul. Since then, the K1PL has grown to be among the most important events in the world of Karate focused on bringing together the best Karate athletes in the world in an open championships of unprecedented scale and quality.

Al Razouqi further related that next year’s K1PL will bring together more than 300 referees and officials for a refresher course on the sidelines of the competition. “Having this course is equally important as better officials leads to a higher standard in the sport,” Al Razouqi remarked.

“We have been part of this league for a long time now, and part of our responsibility lies in showing the way,” he added.

The sixth K1PL edition will once again open in Paris in the final week of January next year and will be followed by Dubai in mid-February. From here it will move on the Morocco, China, Tokyo and Moscow and finally end with the seventh round in Madrid, Spain at the end of November.

After Over a period of five years, the league has recorded exponential progress in terms of magnitude and status of the tournaments as well as the number of participants and countries represented.

2019 K1PL CALENDAR

► January 25-27: Paris, France
► February 15-17: Dubai, UAE
► April 19-21: Rabat, Morocco
► June 7-9: Shanghai, China
► September 6-8: Tokyo, Japan
► October 4-6: Moscow, Russia
► November 29-December 1: Madrid, Spain