With an extensive program, the 21st Traditional Karate World Championship in Slovenia consolidates and innovates itkf

Managers, coaches and athletes who participated in the first day of the competition at the Vitranc Sport Hall arena © Júlio Oscar Albornoz

On the mats, in addition to technology, the highlights were the teams from Brazil, Egypt, Romania, Italy and Poland

By Paulo Pinto / Global Sports
November 29, 2022 / Curitiba (PR)

Japanese folk dance performance at the closing ceremony of the event

More than 700 katarecas from 30 countries in Africa, Asia, Oceania, Europe and the Americas competed from November 15th to 21st in the 21st edition of the Traditional Karate World Championship in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, promoted by the International Traditional Karate Federation (ITKF).

Ritual greeting before the start of the final disputes

As is always the case at ITKF events, the days leading up to the competition were filled with technical and administrative work. However, at the management level, innovation and the use of technology were the high point of the meeting. On the 15th, ITKF Technical Committee met; on the 15th and 16th, the Master Course; and also on wednesday (16), the Regional Meeting of Africa, Asia/Oceania, Europe and Pan-American and the directors meeting, in addition to the ordinary General Meeting that elected the directors for the four-year period 2023/2026.

Opening ceremony of the 21st ITKF World Championship

Ramy El Mekawi (Egypt), chairman of the African Federation; Ibrahim Albakr (Uzbekistan), chairman of the Asia/Oceania Federation; Romulo Machado (Portugal), president of ITKF; Sandrine El Marhoumy (France), ITKF vice-presidente; have been elected. Gilberto Gaertner (Brazil), was reelected as ITKF chairman.

The competition was held in five areas, while the finals took place in just three © Júlio Oscar Albornoz

On Thursday (17th) the sporting events began with the II Traditional European Karate Cup. In the evening, dinner was offered for the ITKF board and presidents of member countries. It is important to point out that the first day of the dispute was marked by a great movement of athletes, coaches and referees, who celebrated the resumption of world competitions after three years. As of the second day, the anxiety was decreasing and everything flowed with excellence until the finals.

Female kumite dispute © Júlio Oscar Albornoz

On the 18th and 19th, the qualifiers of the 21st Traditional Karate World Championship took place and on the 20th, the disputes that defined the finalists of the competition. The night ended with the Sayonara Party, a festive and relaxing event in which all the delegations gather to strengthen ties and fraternize.

Mr Sukhrat, chairman of the Federation of Uzbekistan; Saidov Bakhtiyor Odilovich, minister of Education of the Republic of Uzbekistan; Tolibjon Toyirov, deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan; Mr Ramy El Mekawi, chairman of the African Federation with the Mr Gaertner, ITKF chairman

At the end of the schedule, on the 21st, there was another administrative meeting for the general evaluation of the events of the official program of the 21st ITKF Traditional Karate World Championship.

Men’s kumite dispute © Júlio Oscar Albornoz

21st ITKF World Championship

Important political and sports authorities participated in the opening ceremony and were present at the world championship: Gilberto Gaertner (Brazil), chairman of ITKF; Rômulo Machado (Portugal), president of ITKF; Sandrine El Marhoumy (France); vice-president of ITKF; Roman Pavlovic (Slovenia), chairman of the European Federation and the organizing committee; shihans Takashi Tokuhisa (Slovenia) and Dino Contarelli (Italy); Hiromichi Matsushima, Japanese ambassador to Slovenia; Mahmoud Yahia, ambassador of Egypt to Slovenia; Mohamed Yahia, consul of Egypt in Slovenia; Tolibjon Toyirov, deputy prime minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan; Saidov Bakhtiyor Odilovich, minister of Education of the Republic of Uzbekistan; Roman Lisac, honorary consul of Israel; masters Eligio Contarelli (Italy) and Justo Gómez (Argentina), members of the ITKF Technical Committee.

Tayko’s performance at the opening ceremony of the event

World Champions Honored

In the ceremony that preceded the finals, all ITKF world champions who went to Slovenia and who currently work as teachers, coaches and referees or in management roles within the administrative structure of ITKF and affiliated countries were honored. They are: Emilio Contarelli (Italy, 1990), Justo Gómez (Argentina, 1992/1994/2000/2006), Giordana de Souza (Brazil, 1994), Cornell Mussat (Romania, 1998/2000/2006/2012), Ricardo Buzzi (Brazil, 2002/2004/2006/2010), Vinícius Pinto (Brazil, 2004/2006/2010), Luca Wojcik (Poland, 2010/2014), Pawel Januzs (Poland, 2012), Mahmoud Mohamed Elkasrawy (Egypt, 2014) and Manca Urh (Slovenia, 2016).

Kata men’s team © Júlio Oscar Albornoz

Competition results

Out of the 30 national teams that competed for medals, Brazil has won a total of 29 (13 gold, 8 silver and 8 bronze). Egypt was in second place with 28 medals (9 gold, 13 silver and 6 bronze), followed by Romania in third place with 26 medals (6 gold, 10 silver and 10 bronze).

ITKF Chairman with event organizers Mr Roman Pavlovic and Iztok Malacic

The Italian team, at fourth place, won 16 medals (5 gold, 5 silver and 6 bronze). Poland secured fifth place with a total of 11 medals (2 gold, 4 silver and 5 bronze). Portugal reached sixth place with 5 medals (2 gold, 2 silver and 1 bronze).

Men’s team kata dispute © Júlio Oscar Albornoz

Armenia finished in seventh place with 8 medals (1 gold, 2 silver and 5 bronze), while the host Slovenia was in eighth place with 8 medals (1 gold, 1 silver and 6 bronze). Argentina, in ninth place, won 2 medals (1 gold and 1 silver). The German team closed the top ten group with 2 medals (1 gold and 1 bronze).

Sandrine El Marhoumy, ITKF vice president with ITKF chairman Gilberto Gaertner

Positive reviews

Assessing the ITKF since the last edition of the World Cup, Gilberto Gaertner highlighted that the event held in Brazil in 2019 marked the beginning of the entity’s reconstruction, after a period of institutional weakness.

Female Kumite © Júlio Oscar Albornoz

“At that remarkable event, we carried out the strategic planning (2019/2022) and realigned the core objectives of the ITKF. But, unexpectedly, we had the covid 19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021. There were still some disagreements and the change of the institution’s headquarters from the United States to Brazil. Despite the bad weather, in this troubled period, the ITKF grew and strengthened significantly”, reported the chairman of ITKF.

Representatives from Brazil, Sérgio Bastos and Ricardo Buzzi; Egypt, Ramy El Mekawi; and Romania, Cornell Mussat; receiving the 1st, 2nd and 3rd overall trophies from the ITKF Chairman and the Organizing Committee President

The 2022 World Cup in Slovenia was another historic milestone, according to the leader. “Holding the world championship in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, was very important for traditional karate. It was the symbol of ITKF’s institutional consolidation. The organizing committee, headed by Roman Pavlovic, did an excellent job. The agenda and work were very well planned and executed. The innovation and technology used were undoubtedly the high point. A new registration, key generation and event management system was used, which worked very well with all modalities starting and ending disputes exactly at the scheduled times. A kata and enbu refereeing system was also inaugurated using tablets and we are still using VAR experimentally to resolve doubts in kumite disputes.”


The ITKF technical committee highlighted the large number of new athletes. “There was great renewal in most of the delegations, with new talents revealed. Another important milestone of this event was the great female participation, with the largest number of women competing in an ITKF event”, stated Contarelli and Gomez. “We had more than 50 referees working and the technical level of the event was surprising, far above what was expected in the post-pandemic period.”

Female kata match © Júlio Oscar Albornoz

Mr Gaertner praised the work of the organizing committee. “The 21st ITKF World Championship was an event of great technical quality, technological innovation and great management. The organizing committee and all the volunteers certainly outdid themselves and made history. We can say that this was one of the best editions of the world championships of our organization. The conferences and seminars held around the event were a space for much theoretical and technical study by referees, coaches and instructors, a unique moment of exchange between athletes. At this meeting, we finalized the strategic planning for the 2023/2026 period, integrating all our directors, presidents of member organizations and regional organizations. Finally, the great ITKF family showed its commitment to traditional karate, worked together and is ready to face the new challenges that are already on the horizon. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who participated and stayed with us”, concluded ITKF chairman.

Polish judges celebrating with the honors received

Men’s kumite dispute © Júlio Oscar Albornoz

Gilberto Gaertner, ITKF chairman and ITKF president Romulo Machado

Female kata match © Júlio Oscar Albornoz

World Champions Januz, Vinicius, Elkasrawy, Buzzi, Mussat, Gomez, Giordana, Contarelli and Uhr) being honored by ITKF Chairman, Shihan-Kai Chairman and Technical Committee representative

Men’s kumite dispute © Júlio Oscar Albornoz

Female team kata dispute © Júlio Oscar Albornoz

Female team kata dispute © Júlio Oscar Albornoz

ITKF Technical, Judges and Shihan Kai Committee, Mr Walger, Gomez, Dino, Gilberto, Eligio and Brad

Kata men’s team © Júlio Oscar Albornoz

Mr Walger, from the ITKF Judges Committee, guiding the use of the new tablets

Team that worked in the ITKF office in Slovenia: Vinicius Pinto, Sadiomar Santos, Gilberto Gaertner and Rui Marçal © Júlio Oscar Albornoz

Mahmoud Yahia, Ambassador of Egypt being honored by the presidents of the African Federations, Ramy El Mekawi and Asia-Oceania Ibrahim AlBakr

Managers and participants of the technical and refereeing course © Júlio Oscar Albornoz

Hotel Kompass, in Kranjska Gora, headquarters of ITKF meetings and courses

Members of the ITKF Technical Committee, sensei Eligio Contarelli, Justo Gomez and Gilberto Gaertner, finalizing the judges and coaches evaluations

Confraternization dinner © Júlio Oscar Albornoz

Confraternization dinner © Júlio Oscar Albornoz

Award offered to the finalists of the 21st Traditional Karate World Championship in Slovenia © Júlio Oscar Albornoz

Trophy offered to the finalists of the 21st Traditional Karate World Championship in Slovenia © Júlio Oscar Albornoz

Italian athletes celebrate winning the spot on the podium © Júlio Oscar Albornoz

Kata podium by junior female team © Júlio Oscar Albornoz

Juvenile female individual fuku-go podium © Júlio Oscar Albornoz

Junior men’s individual ko-gô kumite podium © Júlio Oscar Albornoz

Jiyu kumite podium for senior women’s team © Júlio Oscar Albornoz

Senior women’s team kata podium © Júlio Oscar Albornoz

Kata podium for the female youth team © Júlio Oscar Albornoz

Jiyu kumite podium for senior men’s team © Júlio Oscar Albornoz

General ranking of the top 13 who scored © Júlio Oscar Albornoz