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The 2018 World Karate Championships will be held in a somewhat unlike location this year, with the Scottish city of Dundee winning hosting rights for this highly prestigious martial arts tournament.

The 7th edition of the Championship, which has previously been held in locations, such as Dublin, Verona, Liege and Lake Garda, will take place between June 12th – 17th 2018 at the Dundee Ice Arena. It is expected to see more than 4,000 athletes, supporters, coaches and officials from all corners of the world descend on the city in eastern Scotland which is more famous as the home for classic children’s comics the Dandy and the Beano and global gaming phenomena Grand Theft Auto, than its martial arts traditions.

World Karate Championships in Dundee, Scotland

2018 World Karate Championships Dundee Scotland

The unlikely choice of the host city is all down to the endeavour of Kanzen Karate Scotland (KKS), a Dundee-based martial arts club and current holder of the highly prestigious title of Dundee Sports Club of the Year!

It was Roy O’Kane, President of the KKS, and the current Dundee Sports Coach of the Year, who spearheaded the bid and, according to Liviu Crisan, the current President of World Union of Karate Federations (WUKF), it was his energy and passion which convinced them to bring their flagship event to Scotland.

“Roy is very ambitious and energetic and after meeting with him I was convinced to bring the event [to Dundee],” he explained. “You can have all the facilities in the world but if the team aren’t committed then for sure it will not be a success… The people will come for the championship and discover what a wonderful country Scotland is and what a nice city Dundee is.”

KKS launched the city’s bid to host the event in June last year and partnered with such organisations as Dundee and Angus Convention Bureau, and Leisure and Culture Dundee, as well as numerous other local bodies, in an attempt to win the bid.

A Big Boost for Karate in Dundee, Scotland

2018 World Karate Championships Dundee Scotland

Their success is not only the first time the event has been held in Scotland but the first time it will have visited the United Kingdom at all. As a result, it is expected to be a big boost for karate and martial arts more generally in the region. Meanwhile, the Dundee and Angus Convention Bureau have estimated that the event will bring around £9.7 million into the local economy.

“An event of this size will have a significant impact on our city while raising the profile of Scottish Karate more generally,” said an elated Roy O’Kane when their bids success was announced. “It’s a tremendous honour that the executive committee of WUKF has placed their trust in KKS and the City of Dundee to deliver this competition, but we can and we will.”

“There is still lots of work to do but we are looking forward to working across the entire city to make sure this event is a success and has a lasting legacy.”

It is this legacy that Roy and the KKS team will inevitably be prioritising before and during the event. With a whole host of top karate practitioners competing on their doorstep, the opportunity to inspire the next generation of young people in Dundee, and indeed across Scotland, will be significant.

The Start of a Karate Renaissance in the UK?

2018 World Karate Championships Dundee Scotland

This is vital at a time when interest in martial arts across the UK is on the rise, but the commercial success of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in particular, is drawing interest away from the more traditional arts such as karate.

Of course, that hasn’t dampened the spirits of those passionate for karate, such as Roy O’Kane, but it is innovative thinking such as his in bring a World Championship to his home city, which will help the likes of karate to fight back.

So, 2018 promises to be an exciting year for Karate in Dundee, in Scotland, and throughout the UK. And it is to be hoped that this one flagship event, will be the start of a renaissance in popularity for more traditional martial arts over the young upstarts such as MMA.

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