The Jamaica Karate Federation (JKF) became a permanent member of the World Karate Federation (WKF) during the 25th World Karate Championships in Dubai earlier this month.
It marked the culmination of the efforts of the local body that was supported by the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA).
“President Christopher Samuda and Secretary-General Ryan Foster have been with us from the beginning and without their unwavering support, karate would not have reached where it has reached today,” said President of the JKF Tony Robinson.
“Mention should also be made of Jason McKay, who was with us from the beginning. Because of this support, Jamaican karate has made tremendous strides and has won the hearts and minds of the martial arts world.”
Foster, meanwhile, noted that the shared vision between the two organizations was key to achieving the goal of permanent membership of the WKF.
“The JOA is not surprised with the great progress made by karate since being admitted as a member of the JOA. We believe in Tony and his team’s vision, which are aligned to that of the JOA,” the JOA CEO said.
Robinson pointed out the pedigree of Jamaica’s karate programme that was on show at the World Championships in Dubai.
“We have top-ranked athletes such as Alton Brown, who is the highest-ranking athlete in the region, with a world ranking of 14, Valentyna Zolostrova, the highest-ranked female in the region, who also is a certified WKF coach. For the very first time, karate was represented at the Pan American Games held in Lima, Peru, when Jessica Cargill created history as she qualified for those Games,” Robinson said.
“Apart from that, our athletes have attended numerous training courses and seminars overseas, as far as Ukraine, through the assistance of the JOA. This has contributed to the certification as coaches and referees, which includes Alton Brown and Valentyna. This will do well [for] the development of karate in Jamaica and the region. Karate in Jamaica was always classed by many as a minor sport, but this achievement should change that view,” he added.
Foster supported Robinson’s assessment regarding the growth of the sport adding that it aligns with the JOA’s goal of developing the nation’s sporting capital in a wholesome manner.
“Alton and Jessica have gone onto winning international medals and it is acceptance such as this from WKF which justifies our belief in karate and our ‘Sport for All’ vision,” Foster said.
“The success of sport is not only illustrated by the amount of medals won, but it is the impact that we all make on the lives and livelihood of all stakeholders. The existence of the JOA is not for one sport, but for all our 51 members,” he noted further.
At the World Karate Championships in Dubai, for the first time in history, Jamaica was represented by three athletes—Alton Brown, Valentyna and Khalil Brown. Those three athletes hold WKF and Pan American Karate Federation (PKF) coaching licenses.
Shihan Nathanial Peat, technical director of the JKF, also expressed his joy at the news of Jamaica’s official acceptance as a member of the WKF.
“The news that Jamaica has been accepted as a full member of the WKF has come after several years of back and forth, overcoming enormous hurdles and setbacks,” said Peat. “This moment has made me extremely proud.”