Success for Kyokushin EC in Gothenburg

On the first of April, Gothenburg and the neighboring municipality of Partille organized this year’s European Championships in the karate style kyokushin. The event was a distinguished experience for all who participated in the karate party.

Martial Art News was of course curious about how a championship event works. We decided to have a chat with project manager Rickard Weber.

– It was challenging and rewarding on many levels. Partly to create an organization that would be able to carry out all the practical details. Then to find the right arena in Gothenburg that could handle the arrangement and to find a hotel big enough. In total, around one hundred ten people have been involved in the project. We have been working on the European Championship for a year and put a lot of time into making everything work. It feels good now in retrospect that everything went well and we have received a lot of praise internationally.

In total, two hundred and eighteen practitioners from twenty one different nations participated. Lithuania stood for an extraordinary championship and was the nation that performed the best. The European Championship was divided into different segments and Rickard guides us through the course of events.

– The event consisted of the international kata competition being decided as the first part on three different tatamis with the European elite. The official inauguration was then carried out. Then the basic round was decided in the ten different weight classes, five for men and five for women. Finally, quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals, as well as the award ceremony, he says and continues:

– We believe that the whole was well executed and that the level of the competitors was very high. It was an even EC with Lithuania performing best and then followed by Bulgaria, Poland, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine and Hungary.

The championship was held in the neighboring municipality of Partille and the handball team Sävehof’s home ground, Partille Arena. The arena is located only a few kilometers from Kviberg, where the Nordic Karate Championships were also recently organized.

– Gothenburg unfortunately does not have a suitable arena for such an event. We therefore chose to put the European Championship in the Partille Arena, which is a newly built and fantastically good arena. The response has consistently been positive. We have received a lot of praise for the choice of hotel and arena and for the execution of the entire sporting part. We had about 1500 in the audience, of which about 1100 were paying and the rest were sponsors and their audience. The streaming was very successful with around 88 000 people watching the European Championship.

Many had probably hoped that the home team would reap great medal success during the European Championship. Unfortunately, the Swedes did not win any gold medals this time, but Rickard is nevertheless satisfied with the performance.

– Sweden managed to take a bronze in kata and two bronzes in kumite. As a home nation, you always have high hopes, but overall I think Sweden performed well with three bronze medals. A Swedish fighter named Ali Hayder who won bronze also received the judges’ prize for best fighter and technique.

Despite the fact that no Swedes got to climb the top of the podium, there was still a lot of other fun for Rickard and his employees to enjoy.

– What was particularly funny was that Ukraine, despite the war, came and participated with a large squad. What was personally most rewarding was seeing such a high level of competition in both kata and kumite. As well as meeting all acquaintances from different nations. It was a great atmosphere and I am grateful to everyone who helped and made the event a success.

Many months of work were required to plan and execute the karate championship. The future will tell if the organizers can manage to organize an event of this dignity again.

– It remains to be seen. It takes a lot of commitment and a functioning economy, and you can’t afford to carry out such a large event more than maybe every five or six years. So we’ll see what happens in the future.

One aspect during the championship that Rickard had hoped for is something that we at Martial Art News are trying to help improve.

– We received a short report in Sweden’s Television, but as a whole, the media interest is unfortunately not as great as we wished.

Check out SVT’s feature on the European Championship

Also read about the Nordic Championship that was held nearby

Tomas Loman

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