Al Owais
Ahmad Abdul Rahman Al Owais, CEO of Sharjah Self Defence Sports Club, and chief organiser of the webinar on karate on Tuesday. Image Credit: Sharjah Sports Council

Dubai: World karate champions Stanislav Horuna of Ukraine and Steve Da Costa of France will lead a handful of top regional karatekas to kick-start the sport’s first-ever online Sharjah International Forum for Martial Sports from 8 pm on Tuesday.

Organised by the Sharjah Self-Defence (SSD) Sports Club under the auspices of Sharjah Sports Council (SSC), the webinar will commence with regional champions, including Kuwaiti duo Salman Abdullah Al Musaiwi and Mohammad Abdullah Al Musaiwi and the UAE’s only ranked karateka, Ahmad Salim Al Baslaib, on the discussion panel.

“This is a unique situation for sport in general, and we’ve got to find a platform to stay relevant and in touch with the possible challenges that are lying ahead. In addition, we have so many other challenges that our fighters are going through at this moment, and a discussion on this can only help everyone,” Ahmad Abdul Rahman Al Owais, CEO of SSD and chief organiser of the webinar, told Gulf News.

Tuesday’s webinar is the first in a series of four that have been scheduled twice a week and covering the four martial arts of karate, judo, taekwondo and jiu-jitsu.

Karate enjoys a big fan following among the Emirati and expat sports-loving community in the UAE. Image Credit: Supplied picture

Young Da Costa has been at the forefront of France’s surge towards continuing their winning tradition on karate. Just 23, the karateka has been France’s mainstay over the past few years as the nation went on to claim more than 30 medals in the last three World Championships. The highlight for France was a surprising second place in the overall standings at the 2016 World Championships held in Linz, Austria.

Da Costa has won 16 medals in 22 international appearances, including a silver medal at the U-21 World Championships, a senior European title and a bronze medal at the 2018 World Karate Championships held in Madrid, Spain. The 23-year-old has already qualified to represent France at next year’s 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games in the men’s kumite -67kg category.

Joining the French fighter will be Ukrainian Horuna, who is also a lawyer by profession and one of the most respected karatekas internationally. Born in the west Ukrainian city of Lviv, Horuna is one of the most admired and followed karateka in the world. Horuna is sixth in karate’s Olympic standings with a world ranking of No.4 on the World Karate Federation (WKF).

Joining these two stalwarts of the sport will be the two regional champions from Kuwait and the UAE’s Baslaib, who is reportedly the only karateka from the country with a WKF ranking.