As early as the 1970s, sports functionary Jacques Delcourt in particular fought to make karate an Olympic sport. But in the end it took almost 50 years before the sport became the third Asian martial art to be implemented at the 2020 Olympics. In Japan, of all places, where the history of karate began over 700 years ago.
A total of eight gold medals will be competed for in the karate competitions at the 2020 Olympics. This makes karate the premiere sport in 2020 with the most competitions.
There are six different Kumite competitions - full contact fights. Men and women will then fight for medals in three weight classes each.
- Men: up to 67 kg, up to 75 kg, from 75 kg
- Women: up to 55 kg, up to 61 kg, from 61 kg
Kumite fights last up to three minutes. If an athlete gains an advantage of at least eight points, the fight is immediately ended. If none of the two fighters succeeds, the athlete who has gained more points in the duel wins. In case of a tie, the fighter who scored first without his opponent also scoring in the same action wins (Senshu rule).
Scoring can be done by three different actions:
- Three points: Ippon - Kick against the head or neck of the opponent
- Two points: Waza-ari - Kick against the opponent's stomach, side, back or torso
- 1 point: Yuko - strike with the closed hand against the head, neck or body of the opponent
The second discipline, in which there is a medal decision for men and women each, is Kata. Two athletes will alternately perform sequences of attacks or defensive moves (Katas) without direct opponents. A jury then evaluates the technical execution and strength and awards a score for each kata. The two highest and lowest scores are deleted, the three remaining scores are added together to give the final score.
Controversy is also caused by the fact that only four of the many worldwide karate styles are permitted in the Kata discipline.
The Olympic karate competitions will take place from 6 to 8 August 2020. They will be held in the Nippon Budokan martial arts hall in the Chiyoda district, which has a capacity of about 14,000 spectators.
A total of 80 athletes will take part in the Olympic karate competitions - 40 men and 40 women. Ten athletes participate in each medal decision. A total of 32 of them (16 men, 16 women) will qualify via their world ranking on April 6, 2020. 24 others (12 men, 12 women) can qualify at a tournament in Paris from May 8 to 10, 2020. 12 other athletes can also qualify for the European Games in Minsk from June 14 to 30, and the Pan-American Games in Lima (Peru) from July 26 to August 11.
In addition, Japan can nominate eight other athletes (4 men, 4 women) as Olympic hosts. The last four remaining places can be proposed by a commission of the National Olympic Committees, the IOC and the International Karate Federations.