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Palestine Karate Federation
submitted by This Week In Palestine

By Omar Shtayyeh

Accredited and licensed by the Ministry of Youth and the Palestinian Olympic Committee, the Palestine Karate Federation was established in 1973. Its basic charter was adopted in Beirut during the same year and modified in Gaza in 1995. The Federation is also a member in the World Karate Federation.

The Palestine Karate Federation works to create a large base of Karate practitioners and generate a healthy and strong athletic generation. The practice of Karate reinforces individual self-confidence and discipline. The overall message of this well-known sport is to disseminate love and peace among the young generations of the world.

The Federation seeks to create a generation of trainers, referees, and Karate practitioners of all ages and both sexes. Specifically, the Federation aims to encourage and promote Karate among young people in Palestine; to train young people in the art of Karate and prepare them for local and international competitions; to organise and supervise local and international competitions; to represent Palestine in regional and international meetings; and to develop Karate as a sport.

Like all other sports institutions in the Palestinian territories, the Palestine Karate Federation faces several obstacles that sometimes impede the achievement of its goals and objectives. In addition to the deteriorating political and economic situation in the territories, there is no Palestinian law that addresses the athletic needs of young Palestinians. Moreover, the Palestinian sports movement is not getting proper support and encouragement on the official level.

There are also difficulties specific to the Palestine Karate Federation itself. The management of the Federation does not have proper headquarters where it can plan its activities and manage the affairs of the Federation. In addition, the Federation does not regularly participate in international and regional competitions mainly due to financial constraints. Finally, what discourages many from practicing Karate is that there is no health insurance for players who are exposed to injuries that result from the practice of Karate.

There are approximately 10,000 Karate practitioners in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and about 120 clubs where Karate is practiced. The Palestine Karate Federation annually organises eight official national competitions and infrequently participates in Arab, continental, and international championships. Currently, the Federation’s national team is preparing itself for participation in the World Karate Championship that will take place later this year.

Omar Shtayyeh is the official spokesperson for the Palestine Karate Federation.

This Week in Palestine
June 2008

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