Madrid steps in to host 2018 World Karate Championships

The World Karate Federation (WKF) has announced that the Spanish capital of Madrid will be the new host of the 2018 edition of its World Senior Championships after Lima was forced to relinquish its hosting rights to the event.

Lima initially saw off rival bids from Madrid and Egypt to land the event back in 2014. However, the Peruvian Federation of Karate announced in a statement in February this year that concerns the proposed main venue for the event, the San Isidro Sports Centre, would not be completed until December 2018 meant the city had to step down as host.

The competition will now take place from November 6-11, 2018, at the WiZink Center in the heart of Madrid, a venue that has a capacity of 12,000 and has previously staged various major sporting events. The arena played host to basketball’s Euroleague Final Four in 2008 and 2015, as well as the finals stage of the 2014 International Basketball Federation’s World Cup.

Madrid previously staged the WKF’s main event in 1980 and 2002 while the Spanish city of Granada also played host to the tournament in 1992.

The World Senior Karate Championships traditionally runs for five days but will next year expand to a six-day event as the WKF prepares to welcome a record number of participants. More than 1,000 athletes from 110 countries featured at the 2016 event in Linz, Austria, and the WKF expects to exceed this figure next year.

Next year’s event comes ahead of karate’s Olympic debut at the 2020 summer Games in Tokyo, Japan. The World Senior Championships, which are held every two years, allocates the highest number of points in the WKF World Rankings and could prove a major platform for athletes seeking qualification for the 2020 Games.