An outstandingly high participation is expected at the Karate Senior World Championships to be held in the Papp László Budapest Sports Arena in Budapest from Tuesday, 24 October to Sunday, 29 October. So far, 1,235 competitors from 114 countries have registered for the event. The Hungarian colours will be represented by a 22-member karate team and an 18-member para-karate team.
János Mészáros, President of the Hungarian Karate Federation (MKSZ), highlighted at a press conference on Friday that the number of participants could potentially increase by another 100, as some will only compete in team events, and others are still awaiting visas. He reported that the event has effectively already begun since 500 referees and 400 coaches have been staying in Budapest for days and participating in training sessions.
Deputy State Secretary Responsible for Sports Administration and Development Gábor Schmidt emphasized that the government strongly supports the hosting of the championships, as the event enhances Hungary’s reputation and draws attention to the importance of sports.
The National Event Organizer Agency is the partner of the karate federation in organizing the event. András Sas, the agency’s CEO, stated that after the UEFA Europa League final, the Women’s Handball Final Four, and the World Athletics Championships, the Karate World Championships this year will be the fourth major sports event that will once again place Hungary into the spotlight of the sports world.
MKSZ Vice President Márton Falusi predicted that the Papp László Budapest Sports Arena will have a full house, with six tatamis set up. This time, 5,000 people will fit in the stands, and an additional 2,000 seats will be reserved for team members and coaches not currently competing. He highlighted that new rules will debut in Budapest as electronic scoring will be introduced.
Tickets are still available, but season passes have already sold out.
Róbert Tahon, the Secretary-General of the federation, reminded that karate started in Hungary nearly 50 years ago and has evolved from a prohibited sport to a tolerated one in the early 1970s, and then to a supported sport in the early 2010s. He also reminded that Hungary has managed to raise world-class competitors over the years.
Zsolt Büchler, the national team coach, expects strong Hungarian performances in every category and predicts a total of three to four medals. Based on their previous achievements, the top contenders are likely to be Gábor Hárspataki (75 kg), a bronze medallist at the Tokyo Olympics, Tadissi Martial (67 kg), a former world silver medallist and multiple-time European bronze medallist, and last year’s European champion, Dániel György (84 kg).
In the para-karate World Championships, world and European champion Olívia Kákosy is considered the favourite.
Sources: Hungarian Conservative/MKSZ/MTI