A letter from Terry Connell to the BKF
Dear BKF Executive
Following on from our meeting in Linz and in full agreement with the WKF president, Mr Espinos and Mr Mike Kassis, President of the Commonwealth Karate Federation, [CKF] I met with Mrs Louise Martin, President of the Commonwealth Games Federation [CGF] yesterday, in what could be described as the first formal step in Karate’s application to become a full and participating member of the CGF. Following an exchange of pleasantries, I proceeded to brief Mrs Martin on the WKF infrastrucure and the WKF team, led by Mr Espinos and Nagura san, who steered us superbly in to the Olympics and assured her we had their support on any future CGF application.
During the talks it became clear the CGF were planning 6-8, even 10 years ahead and that Karate was not on their radar. I took the opportunity to offer an option, an option that would be viewed as progressive and visionary. I suggested that she, as a new President, has the opportunity to leave a legacy, a legacy for youth, much the same as Mr Thomas Bach and the IOC did in late 2014 when he gathered his executive and embarked on a modernisation plan and successfully proposed new, youth friendly sports at the Rio conference for inclusion in the Tokyo 2020 Games.
I put it to Mrs Martin that Karate, with its huge youth appeal, low production costs and dynamic format, will be one of the highlights of the Tokyo Games in 2020. I suggested the CGF could embrace that energy by having Karate, expand its connection with the youth and benefit enormously from the impact on the CGF social media sites with “Likes and Hits” going global as they communicate with each other. I also pointed out the CGF is known as the ‘Friendly Games” and the way to enhance that image is to appeal to the young.
The meeting lasted over one hour and Mrs Martin showed great interest in what Karate had to offer and could not have been more gracious or helpful in the discussions. She has invited me down to London in early January to have talks with her Director of Sport, Mr Matt Curtain. It would be in our interests if I had support at that meeting.
I understand from Mrs Martin, that the first step will be to gain recognition from the CGF as a recognised sport and that Mr Curtain will outline what is required of the CKF. This journey will be similar to the Olympic journey embarked upon by Mr Espinos and Nagura san and their involvement, advice and direction will be crucial, if we are to succeed.
I am convinced Mrs Martin left with a far better understanding of our sport and what we had to offer. I am also of the opinion she was very impressed as we touched on our respective values, image, behaviorial etiquette and the respectful manner on which we place so much importance, common values which the WKF and CGF embrace.
Mrs Martin has asked to kept abreast of developments and insisted we pick up the phone if we need assistance, the sincerity of which was evident.
I have no formal position in this process but am privileged to help the CKF in any way I can. It may be that after I meet with Mr Curtain in early 2017, my duties can recede and I can then hand the formal process baton over to the CKF.
In the meantime I will liaise with Mr Kassis on how to proceed with the meeting with Mr Curtain and will of course keep you informed of any developments that may occur before then.
22 March 2017
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