Karate's world-wide boom in popularity was reflected in the second world championships which ended in Tokyo on Sunday (3 July).
Karate's world-wide boom in popularity was reflected in the second world championships which ended in Tokyo on Sunday (3 July). More than three hundred officials, and competitors from thirty-five countries took part. But the success of the competition was marred by a controversial decision to bar the Israelis team on security grounds. The Israelis described the decision "dishonourable and cowardly".
SYNOPSIS: The ban on the israelis came just before the starts of the competition in Tokyo's Budo-Kan stadium, which was packed with spectators who'd come to watch Japan's national sport.
But the bouts got under way on time and among the more successful entrants were number 41, Spol Jaril of Australia, and number 16, willlrodt of Germany, seen here at the beginning of their contest to determine third place.
The incident involving the Israeli team occurred when their national flag was removed just before the opening ceremony. Israeli ambassador Shaul Ramati said he was told that the ban was due to security problems. He added security problems. He added that the Japanese Amateur Karate Federation had shown itself unfit to stage the event by giving in to threats from Arab competitors and members of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation. The head of the International Amateur Karate Federation admitted that he had come under considerable pressure from the PLO and Arab teams to ban the Israelis. He said he did not think politics should be involved in sport, but the final decision was up to the Japanese organisers.
The eleven members of the Israeli team said later they would demand reimbursement of the 2-thousand 500 dollars it had cost each of them to attend. At the end of the Karate matches it was Willrodt of W. Germany who finally took third place from Australia's Spoljaril. And Japan's Tanka -- last year's winner -- took the championship again, followed in second place by Michaelis of Italy.