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Karate show on tour
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 15 - 06 - 2017

Just two weeks after coming in first at the Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku, Azerbaijan, the Egyptian karate national team added a new achievement to its list, finishing second in the 16th African Karate Seniors and the 8th African Karate Juniors Championships in Yaoundé, Cameroon,
The championships were a warm-up for the World Championship in October in Spain and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in which karate will make its debut as an official sport for the first time in history.
Egypt finished second after their North African arch-rivals Tunisia which came first with 18 medals. Egypt ended up with eight medals, six of which were gold, followed by host Cameroon with 19 medals.
The medals were won by Taha Tarek in individual kata and over 76kg. Tarek entered both the kata and kumite events as well as Menna Shaaban who took the silver in the kumite over 59kg and the bronze in the kata individual event. Nour Ashraf won in the kumite event under 59kg, Seif Ihab in the 61kg category, Salma Nassem in the 53kg, Omar Ahraf in the 76kg and Tarek in the over 76kg.
Ayman Abdel-Hamid, Egyptian Karate Federation (EKF) president, congratulated the Egyptian delegation. “They were only six players and they were able to collect eight medals which is great. It is a good step before the World Championship in Spain.”
Mustafa Fekri, head of the media committee at the EKF, asked Minister of Youth and Sports Khaled Abdel-Aziz to receive the karate world champions and give them their bonuses after their achievements in the last World Championship. Alongside the African championship, Sayed Nasr, EKF board member, was voted vice president of the African Karate Federation.
While visiting Japan, World Karate Federation President Antonio Espinós reiterated the support that karate was receiving from all levels of the nation of its birth, during a meeting with Japan's Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Hirokazu Matsuno.
The Karate delegation visited the headquarters of the MEXT Ministry in Tokyo where the head of karate's international governing body paid tribute to the efforts of the institution he represents in making karate and the Japanese culture attractive to the world.
“As the milestone of the year 2020 nears, we at the WKF are working hard in order to show the world all the values of our sport. By presenting a great karate event to the whole world, we are also spreading Japanese culture and its many virtues. I believe this would be our way of thanking the country and its representatives for all the support we are receiving,” said Espinós who also pointed out the importance of a successful event in Tokyo 2020 to guarantee the bright future of the discipline.
“In order to spread karate even more, I would like to propose that the WKF apply for ‘Sports for Tomorrow', an international project of the Japanese government aiming at extending the contribution of Japan by sending coaches to disseminate their knowledge and by the exchange of athletes,” Matsuno said.
The meeting was attended by WKF General Secretary Toshihisa Nagura and Commissioner of Japan's Sports Agency Daichi Suzuki who expressed the intention of the institution to cooperate with karate in 2020 and beyond.


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