Sakura Kokumai qualifies to compete and represent the United States at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
It has been a long and winding road, but karate athletes are finally reaching their destination of Olympic qualification to the Tokyo Olympic Games.
The World Karate Federation announced today the first 40 qualified athletes, taking the four highest-ranked athletes of each category in the Olympic standing. With the removal of duplicate countries, Sakura secures her spot at top four in the kata ranking.
The sport of karate consists of kata (forms) and kumite (sparring). In Kokumai’s discipline of kata, athletes compete a series of predetermined movements and are judged on speed, strength, focus, breathing, balance and rhythm. Only 10 women and 10 men will qualify to compete in kata in Tokyo.
Sakura started karate at the age of 7 and immediately was drawn and committed to the sport – training in both Hawaii and Japan. Now 28, Kokumai makes history, becoming the first ever American karate athlete to qualify for an Olympic Games.
Karate competition will take place at the Nippon Budokan, the iconic Japanese martial arts venue, on August 5-7, 2021. Kokumai is set to compete on the first day of competition.
In only a few short months, the sport of karate and its athletes will enter the Olympic Games for the first time. We will witness the best of the best compete on the world stage and Kokumai is ready.
A total of 80 karateka (40 men and 40 women) will compete in Tokyo. Stay tuned for more information as stage two and three of Olympic qualification continues and more athletes are named to the team.