Zagreb, July 31, 2019 - President of the Croatian Olympic Committee (HOO) Zlatko Mateša prepared a reception for three-member-delegation of karate, including President of the World Karate Federation (WKF) Antonio Espinosa, Head of the Croatian Karate Federation (HKS) Davor Cipek and President of the HKS Veterans Committee Vjekoslav Šafranić. They discussed the status of karate at the world and national level, and mostly on the status of karate at large multi-sport events, where the co-speakers mostly commented the IOC's decision on the one-time inclusion of karate in the Olympic sports program exclusively for Tokyo Olympics 2020.
The leader of the World Karate Federation explained that the said move was even more surprising due to the fact that the French are a very strong karate nation and are very interested in keeping this martial sport in the program of Paris Olympics 2024. However, according to the IOC's decision, karate will be a demonstration Olympic sport only in its country of origin, at the Tokyo Olympics next year. In this regard, Espinosa asked the President of the Croatian Olympic Committee Mateša, who is also a member of the European Olympic Committees (EOCs) leading body, to support the stay of karate in the programs of multi-sport events held under the EOCs, primarily the European Games (EG). Mateša pointed out that after the second, very successful edition of European Games in Minsk, the analyses shall follow that will result in the selection of sports for the third European Games in Poland in 2023 and that he will advocate for the stay of karate in the program, because it proved, along with judo and boxing, its attractiveness at the Games in Minsk. In this regard, he added that the Croatian Olympic Committee will continue being a great support to the work of the Croatian Karate Federation.
The President of HKS Cipek presented very respectable figures on the "power" of the Croatian Karate Federation, relating to 183 clubs with more than ten thousand male and female karateka, 400 coaches, 130 judges... Of course, the talks included the Kvesić brothers, and the hope was expressed on Ivan Kvesić representing Croatia in Tokyo next year, the only Olympics with karate included in the Olympic program. (COC/VK)