The 2020 Summer Olympics are set to be held in Tokyo and it is likely they will feature five new sports, including karate. The new events would equate to over 18 additional medal events and would increase the field of athletes by 474. It wasn't until December 2014 that the International Olympic Committee decided to do away with the 28-sport limit and replace it with a restriction on number of athletes (10,500) and medal events (310) instead. This latest change makes it much easier for new sports to be featured in the Olympic Games.
Karate has never been a part of the Olympics, but its martial arts counterpart judo has been a featured event since 1964. This makes sense because both judo and karate have roots in the country of Japan. The next Olympics would appear to be as good a time as ever to include another martial art, especially one with roots in Okinawa, a region of the host country. Supporters of the sport also cite its convenience in being included in the Olympics, noting that the new events can take place in just three days and do not require any kind of unique venue to be constructed. Karate also boasts a 35 percent participation by female athletes, according to BBC.
One country in particular is very eager for the inclusion of Karate: Malaysia.
"It is one sport Malaysia stand to gain as I believe we will have the exponents able to compete with the world's best by then," Vincent Chen, Malaysian Karate Federation Secretary, told the Star Online.
Malaysia has long been considered a dominant force in the sport of karate, as evidenced by its repeated gold medal victories at the Southeast Asian Games. Needless to say, the country would be thrilled to have another event in the Olympic Games in which it has a strong proven record.
Karate would serve the Olympics well, too, because it provides an excellent example of sports being more than simply physical competitions. The discipline and mental fortitude required to excel in martial arts go hand in hand with the message that the Olympics wants to spread to people all over the world, especially members of the younger demographic.