WKF recognizes new karate body

WORLD Karate Federation (WKF) president Antonio Espinos (3rd from left) formally gives temporary recognition to Karate Pilipinas, Inc. headed by Ricky Lim (4th from left) during the 15th Asian Karate Federation (AKF) Senior Championship in Amman, Jordan. Also shown are WKF secretary general Toshihisa Nagura, Philippine Sports commissioner Ramon Fernandez and AKF general manager Vincent Chen. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Instead of waiting for its World Congress in November, the World Karate Federation (WKF) gave temporary recognition to Karate Pilipinas, Inc. (KP), the new body tasked to replace the embattled Philippine Karatedo Federation-NSA, Inc. (PKF-NSA) headed by Joey Romasanta.

Sports commissioner Ramon Fernandez yesterday reported that WKF president Antonio Espinos recognized KP during the 15th Asian Karate Federation (AKF) Senior Championship in Amman, Jordan.

Fernandez said the recognition was given following a meeting between AKF general manager Vincent Chen with the leadership of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) as well as other stakeholders of karate in the country last April.

Although the WKF gave Romasanta and the PKF-NSA until November to file an appeal and express their position against delisting, Fernandez said the world-governing body realized it would be better to recognize KP so as not to hamper the training and preparation of the athletes headed for the 18th Asian Games.

KP president Ricky Lim is now spearheading the karatekas’ preparation for the Asian Games.

Five of his wards are included in the final roster to the quadrennial meet set in Jakarta from Aug. 18 to Sept. 2.

“They said why do they have to wait until November if they can do it now?” said Fernandez, adding that the WKF required the PKF-NSA to show its travel itineraries in the World Congress in Madrid in November to gauge if the federation is serious to be heard.

“If they will not go to Madrid for the World Congress in November, the WKF will turn the temporary recognition into full recognition. That’s why they want to see the tickets, itinerary and other travel documents of the PKF-NSA before the World Congress.”

The formation of a new karate body was a thorny process.

After 18 karatekas, including skipper Engene Dagohoy, alleged that PKF-NSA secretary-general Raymund Lee Reyes mismanaged their allowance during a training camp in Germany last year. The PSC responded by suspending all financial support to the federation.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) also pressed criminal charges against Reyes.
The POC, meanwhile, vowed to recognize Lim after WKF recognition.

“That’s what (POC president) Ricky Vargas said,” Fernandez said.

“The POC said this (temporary) recognition is what they are waiting so it can fully recognize Karate Pilipinas. Now that the recognition is already here, I think we’ll have no problems in Karate Pilipinas’ recognition.”