The IKU first Continental Pan American Championship was a great success, without any doubt!!

            A success in organization, in participation of athletes, an event of a special nature where the feeling of friendship was breathed in the air and united these wonderful South American people in a beautiful sporting event.

           The Championship was excellently organized by Master Jocimar Freitas President of the Brazilian state of Paraiba, at O’ Rinaldino sports hall in the beautiful city of Joao Pessoa, from July 21st to July 23rd 2018 and saw the participation of 7 countries with 794 athletes.

            The new competition rules, recently approved by the International Technical Commission, were explained by the President of IKU Technical Commission, Dr. Stefano Pucci, sent by the IKU board in mission on the spot, during the training course for referees. 21 referees attended the course and 5 of them achieved, at the end of the championship, the qualification of Continental Judge. These new “internationals” are: Francisco Bezerra, Gilberto Jorge, Andreia Maria Silva, Fabricio Clerson and Julianne Bezerra. The Brazilian Wagner Angeloni achieved the qualification of Continental Referee, while, during the meeting of Presidents of the federations present, the good Continental Referee Luiz Sombra was appointed as Pan American Referees Coordinator.

          With general great appreciation, the new competition rules were applied for the first time, and were the most positive note of the event. It is necessary to reflect on the fact that to conceive, approve and apply new rules in step with the change of karate sport, it took three and a half decades (the previous ones were approved in Pallanza/UEK in 1985); in the meanwhile 4 new international federations were born, whose leaders were heavily involved in “other” matters … and did not have the time to update the 34-year-old competition rules…!!!!

           The real organizer of the successful event was undoubtedly Sensei Gilles Willemin, involved in both roles of President of IKU (International Karate Union) and CEEBK (Karate Brazilian Confederation).Thanks to the calm, security, great kindness and savoir-faire that characterize him, the Carioca president led the event between the appreciation of all those present, including the presidents of the other nations.

           In the days leading up to the competition, the Paraiba state television reserved large space to the event, with services and interviews and sent a team to the opening ceremony on Saturday 21st July, which broadcasted live the main phases of the event.

           Thanks to the new merging rules, all categories were very “crowded” and it was really hard to get on the podium: the technical level was good in kata and excellent in kumite with some highly spectacular fights. A large and correct audience urged its favorites with sportive correctness, by “holas”, drums and trumpet… as if they were in a stadium at “torsidas”.

          During the federal meeting, chaired by Gilles Willemin, two important decisions were made, approved by the IKU Board a few days later: the next Pan American Championship (II IKU edition) that will be held in Buenos Aires in 2020 (next year the World Championship will be held in Fortaleza, Brazil); the creation of a special sector for handicapped athletes whose first tournament will be held in Fortaleza in 2019 during the next World Championship. Profesora Marina Regules (Argentina), well-known World Champion in the past years and highly qualified teacher today, was appointed as Responsible for this delicate sector.

           At the end of the tournament, the first place and the big cup, were won by M. Gilles Willemin’s Brazil, second place to Argentina led by M. Nestor Parreno and third place to Chile of the excellent M. Josè Silva Mancilla.