16th Traditional Karate ITKF World Championship
For the two days of 6th and 7th October 2012 the Lodz Sports hall Atlas Arena played host to the 16th Traditional Karate World Championships of the International Traditional Karate Federation (ITKF). Concurrent with the main event spectators also witnessed the 2nd Traditional Karate Children’s European Cup, where the youngest athletes competed, representing Traditional Karate clubs from all over Europe. The very special character of the event was highlighted by the fact that it obtained honorary patronage from the Minister of Sports and Tourism of the Polish Republic, Ms. Joanna Mucha.
The choice of the venue for the Championships was not accidental. Lodz has the status of being the craddle of Traditional Karate in Poland and this year represented its 40th anniversary of its history when the initial training began with sensei Chiyomaro Shimoda – the first Japanese karate instructor in Poland. Up to the present day the city of Lodz has been the most buoyant centre of Traditional Karate in Poland and is the seat of the Traditional Karate Federation of Poland (PZKT). It is also the place where many talented competitors including European and World Championship medallists have originated.
For the first time the Championships were open for younger age categories. Until these championships, the ITKF competition was only designed for adults, but the ITKF introduced three new groups: cadetts (14-15 yo), juniors (16-17 yo) and youth (18-20) to its World Championships this year.
400 top karate athletes from around the world competed for World Champions’ medals this year. Medals were won by Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Great Britain, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovenia and Ukraine. The tournament was watched in person by several thousand enthusiasts of this martial art, who arrived in Lodz from the whole country as well as from different corners of Europe. As well, the television coverage was streamed live to millions around the world via the Internet and social media.
ITKF President Richard Jorgensen, commented on the success of the Championships:
– With over 1,000 athletes competing in the two concurrent events, ITKF has once again demonstrated the popularity and significance of ITKF Traditional Karate deeply rooted in many countries around the world. And, the several thousand people who came to watch the competition live has demonstrated its special interest to spectators. The Championships organised by Traditional Karate Federation of Poland were a real delight due to it’s specific, exceptional atmosphere. When appointing Poland for the endeavour of organising this most important competition ITKF did not have a slightest doubt about its success – ITKF President Jorgensen emphasized.
This great impression was also shared by Vladimir Jorga, President of the European Traditional Karate Federation, who summarised the Championships saying:
– These Championships in Lodz’s Atlas Arena hall have just shown how much of a celebration this karate competition can prove to be. The original competition of Traditional Karate is alive and well in many countries around the world. I hope the major sport authorities around the world, including the IOC, take particular note of this significance.
The success of the Polish team and highly positive opinions from ITKF representatives about the organisation were very emotionally received by Wlodzimierz Kwiecinski, President of Traditional Karate Federation of Poland:
– I am really glad that our efforts were noticed and highly evaluated by the ITKF executive board. We had an exceptional organizational team and unprecedented support including 6 full hours of live television coverage by the top Sports Channel in Poland. That proved to us the significant interest there is for real Traditional Karate competition versus other kicking and punching sports. We are very proud of our achievement here and happy that everyone enjoyed the event. But, I must also comment how very proud I am of our Polish athletes, many of whom reached the medal podium. Of special mention is the gold medal for the team kumite which we managed to win after 20 years of hard attempts and hard training. Today’s championship and this gold medal in particular is the crowning of this hard work and effort.