Swedish Karate Open includes everyone

On the twenty-second of April, Kristianstad Arena opened its doors for this year’s edition of Swedish Karate Open. The organizers of the two-day event thought inclusively and this year added a new form of competition to the schedule.

Swedish Karate Open is an international kata and kumite competition that is organized annually. The popular martial arts company Budo-Nord was the main sponsor this year. The competition started in 2010 and was organized the first few years in Malmö. In recent years, the event has moved a bit northeast across the county and is now housed in Kristianstad.

Dejan Brajić, responsible organizer of the karate competition, happily talks about the event that he and his companions organize with pleasure every year.

– The need for an international competition in Sweden has always existed and the proximity to the continent meant that the competition started in Malmö. Swedish Karate Open is a competition for both children and adults. It is also an international competition aimed more at those who have competed before. If you have been doing karate for more than forty years, you must think that karate is the best sport of all, of course, but seeing the joy and community in the dojo is the best, he says and adds:

– We have arranged competitions for almost thirty years. Both large and small and always had Budo-Nord behind our arrangements. We are happy that Budo-Nord exists as part of our competition and as the main sponsor. The collaboration has existed since Budo-Nord was started in the seventies. First through my father Zivko Brajić. I came into contact with Budo-Nord’s products when I myself started training in the late seventies.

Dejan provides a personal account of what actually went on inside the walls of Kristianstad Arena.

– This year we had around six hundred starts and that was slightly less than last year. I think it is due to the financial situation we are in and the fact that on the same weekend some other big competitions were arranged at the same time. We always hope that everyone is satisfied with our arrangement when the competition is over and the response we have received is positive. We haven’t had time to fully summarize the competition yet, but we think we’ve done a very nice championship again this year, he says and continues:

– This year’s competition was arranged over two days, where Saturday was a kata and kumite competition for cadets, juniors and seniors. On Sunday, children from seven to thirteen years old competed and for the first time we organized para karate. This year the competition attracted participants from six countries where there were around six hundred entries over two days. The team competition was won this year by Mexico. Next year’s competition will be arranged on the ninth of March in Kristianstad Arena.

A novelty for this year was, as said, that there was also the opportunity to compete in para karate. The training form is still under development. The main aim is to get more people with disabilities to move and to offer the practitioners community and a meaningful leisure time.

– We organized para karate for the first time at Swedish Karate Open and it was extra fun to see so many talented practitioners at our competition. As for the para karate at our competition, we will continue with it next year as well. I have contacted the para karate committee about a deeper collaboration, which is not ready yet. The hope is that they want to put some of their activities in connection with next year’s competition in Kristanstad, he says and adds:

– After all, there are more people than me who organize the competition. In order to succeed in this, we need talented officials in all areas, and we have that within our organization. What drives us is to make a good competition and to develop the competition every year. It all depends on where you want to place the level of a competition. Our ambition is always to try to develop the competition. Work for next year’s competition began already the day after the competition ended.

The organizers attach great importance to the competitions being held at a high level. In this way, they should make the practitioners want to return but also attract new ones, preferably foreign ones.

– Competition-wise with foreign competitors has gone in waves. Now we invest a lot in attracting talented judges who are at the highest level in order to raise the quality of the competition and then get fairer assessments. The competition around Europe with competitions organized basically every weekend is always a challenge. Especially trying to position our competition so that it doesn’t clash with another major competition. The challenge is always to try to improve each event and to try to attract foreign competitors. Our vision for the future is to continue to develop and improve the event.

In conclusion, Dejan gives his opinion on where Swedish karate is at the moment. He also looks back on what he considers to be the golden years.

– If we are talking elite, the very highest level, we are far from the level Sweden was in the eighties and nineties. Then we were considered a top nation and produced several world champions. Of course, everything hasn’t been all bad since then. We have had several fine placings at the biggest championships, but for Sweden to become a top nation, which in the eighties and nineties, I don’t think will happen.

Source Swedish Karate Association

Read more about Swedish Karate Open

Also read about Kyokushin EC that were held in Gothenburg

Tomas Loman

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