European Games has helped shortlist karate for Olympics

Karate given Olympic hope thanks to Baku
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Esteban Perez Matas believes that karate has enhanced its chances of being included in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics thanks to success at the European Games in Baku.

Karate will be given its chance over the next two months to be added to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games programme.

The sport, which projected its claims for inclusion in the Olympics at the Baku 2015 European Games, has been shortlisted with seven other sports.

The others are baseball and softball, squash, bowling, roller sports, climbing, surfing and wushu.

Esteban Perez Matas, chairman of the organising committees for the European and World Karate Federations, believes karate's chances were enhanced by the Baku tournament.

"We were able to show the world what an exciting and competitive sport karate is," he said. "We have been trying to get it included in the Olympics programme for many years. Now we think we have a good chance.

"We have to remember that karate has one million competitors around the world and 100 million participants. It doesn't matter how old you are. Not only is it good for the health, it is good for the spirit too.

"It is up to the International Olympic Committee now and we will hope for some good luck."

All eight of the sports federations move on to the second application stage and further submissions will be made by July 22 before briefings in Tokyo on August 7 and 8.

Turkey's Enes Erkan (front) reacts after winning the gold medal after competing against Germany's Jonathan Horne (background) in the Men's Karate Kumite +84kg, during the 2015 European Games in Baku on June 14, 2015
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