The Sharjah Ladies Club (SLC) witnessed the opening ceremony of the highly anticipated 4th Male and 2nd Female West Asian Karate Championship on Monday, hosted by the emirate of Sharjah on September 14th & 15th.
Organised by the SLC-Women Sports Department in collaboration with the UAE Taekwondo and Karate Federation and the Sharjah Sports Council, the tournament is held under the supervision of the West Asian Karate Federation (WAKF).
Dignitaries present at the opening event included Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Al Qannas, President of the WAKF and of the Saudi Arabian Karate Federation, Major General Nasser Al Razooqi, President of the UAE Taekwondo and Karate Federation and Vice President of the World Karate Federation, Nada Askar Al Naqbi, Director of the WAKF Championship, Chairperson of the Women's Committee in the Arab Karate Union and Director of the SLC's Women Sports Department, and Daiij Raeesy Vice President of the Asian Karate Federation Vic President of the UAE Taekwondo and Karate Federation.
Other officials in attendance were Secretary Generals Ahmed Nasser Al Fardan (Sharjah Sports Council) and Saeed Hareb (Dubai Sports Council), as well as Assistant Secretary Generals of the General Authority of Youth and Sports Welfare, Abdul Mohsen Fahd Al Dosary and Khalid Eisa Al Midfa.
Opening the ceremony, Nada Askar Al Naqbi conveyed the warm greetings of H.H. Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and Chairperson of the Sharjah Ladies Club, and expressed her heartfelt wishes for visiting teams to have an enjoyable stay in the emirate of Sharjah.
Major General Nasser Al Razooqi, President of the UAE Taekwondo and Karate Federation voiced his profound thanks and appreciation to the Ruler of Sharjah, and his wife, Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, for their continuous boundless support for sports and athletes.
He also thanked H.H. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, for the significant support he provides to individual games. Al Razooqi also acknowledged the SLC's Women Sports Department and Sharjah Sports Council as key pillars on which the UAE Karate and Taekwondo Federation strongly depends.
He expressed his delight at selecting the UAE and Sharjah in particular to organise this championship, and stressed that the immense effort and support offered by the SLC's Women Sports Department bolsters great confidence that the tournament will be a major success.
Al Razooqi noted that the training course on refereeing and coaching, held as an important part of the tournament, will go a long way in improving the game in Western Asia. In conclusion, he wished victory upon all participating countries, as well as success for all organising committees in organizing the championship in a perfect manner that lives up the UAE's leading position, and Sharjah's status in particular.
In his speech during the opening ceremony, Dr Ibrahim Al Qannas expressed his gratitude towards Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi for her generous patronage of the championship at SLC's Women Sports Department, and for her immeasurable efforts to ensure its success.
He acknowledged the UAE Taekwondo and Karate Federation represented by its president, Major General Nasser Al Razooqi, Vice President of the World Karate Federation, and Duaij Raisi, Vice President of the UAE Taekwondo and Karate Federation, and Vice-President of the Asian Karate Federation. Al Qannas also extended his special thanks to SLC's Women Sports Department, Sharjah Sports Club, and organisers and hosts of the championship.
"The UAE is proud to be trusted with organizing such high caliber tournaments, stemming from its internationally acclaimed reputation and leading role in various fields, especially sports. Our nations have made great strides and have reached milestone achievements in numerous areas, together building a vivid example of the modern country - a goal sought after by all. We look forward to matching the resounding success attained in organizing the 2013 Asian Karate Championship, which was held in Dubai," Al Qannas said.
He revealed that the WAKF’s Board of Directors had held its official meeting, and that the Referee and Technical Committees also congregated on the sidelines of the tournament.
Nada Askar said: "We in the UAE, and specifically in the emirate of Sharjah, welcome all of our friends from West Asian countries, with whom we share the same geographical unity. We would like to affirm that the hosting of the 4th male and 2nd female karate championship is yet another testimony to the interest of our wise leadership and its unlimited support to advance all sporting activities, especially martial arts and fighting games represented in karate and taekwondo. We promise that we will do our utmost to make this tournament a success in terms of both organizational and technical aspects."
The two-day training course on refereeing and coaching was held prior to the tournament, on the sidelines of the WAKF Championship. Organized annually by the WAKF, this year’s course saw a range of lectures and theoretical and practical tests for referees and coaches, dealing with safety measures while practicing Karate and the dangers of using steroids by some athletes to enhance their performance.
At the end of the training, the classification of coaches was announced and accredited certificates were awarded to referees and coaches.
Eight countries are participating in the 4th male and 2nd female WAKF championship, including the UAE (the host country), Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, and first-time participant, Oman.
The men's kata will see competitions in weights -55, -60, -67, -75 and -84, and +85 kg, while the kata category for women will see competitions in weights -50, -61, -68, and +68 kg, along with collective men's contact competitions and collective women's contact tournaments.
The West Asian Karate Championship kicked off in 2012 after the WAKF's Board of Directors was restructured upon an initiative by Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Al Qannas. The first West Asian Karate Championship was held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, while the emirate of Dubai hosted the 2014 chapter.
Held annually, the tournament enjoys great interest from Western Asian countries, offering referee and coaching training courses and certificates accredited by the WAKF. –End-
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