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Karate at Tokyo Olympics: Preview, Guide, Schedule, Key Players

Karate is one of the five new sports set to be included in the Tokyo Olympics 2020

Two Karate players competing with each other

Karate will make its debut in the Tokyo Olympics.


Sayak Dipta Dey

Updated: 9 July 2021 8:47 AM GMT

Karate is one of the five new sports set to be included in the Tokyo Olympics 2020. The sport has its roots in Japanese Martial Arts culture and will be a prominent event to follow for the home supporters in Tokyo, however, the inclusion of Karate in the Olympics is in a trial setup, and will not be part of the official programme of the Paris Olympics 2024.


Karate was included in the Buenos Aires Youth Olympics in 2018 and received big support in Argentina. It will become the sixth martial arts event to be included in the Olympics after Judo, Taekwondo, Wrestling, Boxing and Fencing. There will be a total of eight events in Karate in two disciplines: Kumite and Kata.

Kumite will feature six events for men and women karatekas. Kumite is similar to other martial arts where two fighters square off against each other in an 8x8m performance stage.

The karatekas fight against each other for three minutes. The winners are determined by the number of points at the end of the stipulated time. If a karateka manages to clinch a difference of eight points ahead of the opposition, the round is awarded to the leading scorer. In case of a tie, the karateka earning the first point will prevail.


The Kumite events are divided in six categories. 67kg, 75kg and +75kg for men and 55kg, 61kg and +61kg for women. Kata is the solo form discipline, and will have one event each for men and women.

The basic difference between Kata and Kumite is that, unlike Kumite, Kata does not require a one-vs-one fighting bout. It is a solo performance where the karateka showcases numerous offensive and defensive moments in freestyle against an imaginary opponent. The karatekas are then marked on a point-based system by the seven judges.

Steve Dacosta


  • Men's Kumite 65 Kg (Heats and Finals): August 5
  • Men's Kumite 75 Kg (Heats and Finals): August 6
  • Men's Kumite +75 Kg (Heats and Finals): August 7
  • Men's Kata (Heats and Finals) August 6
  • Women's 55 Kg (Heats and Finals): August 5
  • Women's 61 Kg (Heats and Finals): August 6
  • Women's +61 Kg (Heats and Finals): August 7
  • Women's Kata (Heats and Finals): August 5

Sandra Sanchez

Key Players

A total of 80 athletes have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics in Karate. 60 karatekas will battle it out in Kumite while 20 performers will grace the Kata. A total of 10 karatekas have qualified in each category of Karate events. Japan has one representative guaranteed courtesy of being the hosts.

4 karatekas have advanced through the Olympic Standings while 3 qualified from the qualification events. The Tripartite commission invitation has added the remaining two quotas.

Sandra Sanchez (Spain) and Damien Quintero (Spain) will be the favourites to clinch the Kata gold in the respective gender categories after winning the World and European Championships in the recent few years.

Steve Dacosta (Spain) and Vinicius Figuera (Brazil) will be favourites in the men's Kumite events while Anzhelika Terliuga (Ukraine) and Jovana Prekovic (Serbia) are the strongest challengers in women's Kumite.

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