Karate competitors are aiming to strike a blow for their sport in Baku in their bid to gain entry into the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
The World Karate Federation (WKF) failed to achieve the two-thirds majority at the International Olympic Committee needed for the sport to be included in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. This month, however, the European Games in Baku provides the martial art with a golden opportunity to demonstrate its appeal as part of an ongoing campaign for Karate's inclusion in Tokyo.
The WKF's strategy includes an education programme designed to unravel the mysteries of the sport. Videos will be shown to spectators during the competition on 13-14 June at Crystal Hall 3.
Karate competition manager Dmitriy Chigenev, a black belt and silver medallist at the European and World Fudokan-Shotokan Championships, is at the forefront of the campaign.
"Karate is included in many of the multi-sport events around the world like the African, Pan American and Mediterranean Games but not the Olympic Games," said the Russian. "It is very significant that Karate is a part of the first European Games here in Baku. It is an opportunity to show the sport to a big audience.
"One of the challenges is to show the difference between Karate and Taekwondo. We will try to educate the audience. So an hour before the competition begins, we will be showing special videos to explain the rules and highlight some of the contests.
"Work has been done to simplify the rules so you don't need a degree in mathematics to work them out. Some of the top athletes in Europe will be competing here and this is a very significant occasion for the sport."