The Asian Games is a very important event for karate’s development and the World Karate Federation (WKF). With all 45 members of the Olympic Council of Asia sending over 12,000 athletes to the Games, the events in Hangzhou have the most participants, most sports, and largest overall scale in the history of the Asian Games.
Karate is popular across the world. It is a universal sport with around 200 national federations around five continents. In Asia, we have 45 national federation members. Karate has been progressing over the years and is becoming increasingly popular among audiences. On the one hand, the universality of karate is natural, even without the help of the Olympic rings. On the other, the Olympics have further promoted the universality of karate. Governments and sports authorities in many countries have promoted the creation of national federations of Olympic sports.
Karate made its Olympic debut at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Tokyo 2020 has turned out to be a catalyst for karate’s development. But regrettably, karate, as one of the most popular martial arts in France, will not be part of the Paris 2024 Games. Despite this result, the WKF will continue to work to boost karate’s global attractiveness and is anticipating it to be included in the Los Angeles 2028 Games.
Karate has witnessed huge progress in China. I am convinced that the potential of karate in China is huge. The reasons for my China trip are not only to watch karate in the Asian Games but also to have conversations with Chinese sports authorities to see how we can work together to promote this sport.
China is a very well-organized and competent country. I am confident that Chinese sports authorities are doing a very good job in this regard. They know how to do this job. I, as the WKF President, will take the suggestions from Chinese authorities to see how the work of the federation can be a catalyst for karate’s development. I had the opportunity in the Asian Karate Championships that took place in Melaka, Malaysia in July to meet and have fruitful conversations with the Chinese Karate Association. I look forward to more talks in Hangzhou.
China has many top karate athletes getting medals in world-level events in recent years. I am hopeful to see their excellent performance in the Asian Games. The level of karate is going up as well, and the Asian Games is bringing together athletes from across the globe in Hangzhou. Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, for instance, have seen their levels going up in the past years. There will be very fruitful competition during the Games that will be attractive to global spectators.
The Asian Games is a platform where people from different cultures can communicate. Through the universal language of sports, people will have a chance to have a better understanding of each other in a community with a shared future. However, the concept of universality is something that, in my opinion, is not being taken into account as much as it should be. More efforts could be made in this regard.
The sports’ role in promoting peace, solidarity, and inclusiveness among people cannot be overstated. We look forward to excellent performances and more communications in Hangzhou.
This article was first published on CGTN