Upbeat young Turkish karatekas return home to heroes’ welcome

The Turks finished second with 13 medals — seven gold, one silver and five bronze medals. Japan topped the medals table with 18 — eight gold, three silver and seven bronze. Egypt was the second runner-up with 21 — six gold, eight silver and seven bronze medals, while host Indonesia finished a distant fourth.

“We finished second as a team and we have now become the best team on the European continent,” Turkish Karate Federation (TKF) President Esat Delihasan said during the welcoming ceremony.

“However, the most important thing [in Jakarta] was that we were able to form and compete as team. I believe there will be karate at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Summer Games and our team should start preparing now for Tokyo. That way it will be easy for Turkey to select karatekas for the games,” he further said.

“We were the runners-up according to the calculations of the World Karate Federation [WKF]. This was a great honor and source of pride for all of us; however, Turkey needs consistency. We want to leave behind a legacy of success anywhere we go,” he noted.

The Nov. 12-15 championship brought together 1,441 rising karatekas from 92 countries worldwide. The Jakarta event also saw some new changes in the sport. It marked the first time that protective face masks were not used due to the positive changes made in the rules and regulations by the WKF.

It was also an opportunity for the executive committee to work on the future of the sport — for the upcoming World Senior Championships in October 2016 in Linz, Austria, and then for the 2020 Tokyo games. The 10th World Junior, Cadet & Under 21 Karate Championships will be held in Cairo, Egypt, in 2017.