Historic event

Panama will host the 8th Pan-American Championship of Shotokan Karate-do International Federation (SKIF) from July 31st to August 4th.

At a press conference it was announced that karatekas from 16 countries will be present at the event, which will be held at Hotel El Panama, along with such internationally renowned figures as Japan's Hirokazu Kanazawa, the master and founder of SKIF.

Besides kata (form) and kumite (combat) competitions, the activity will have a didactic element with two days of seminars.

In addition to Kanazawa, the tenth dan in karate, the shijan (master) Hiroshi Ishikawa (eighth dan), shijan Shinji Tanaka (sixth dan), and Clay Morton (SKIF World Champion) have confirmed their attendance.

Beto Boutet, president of the organizing committee, said it costs approximately $60,000 dollars to put on this event, destined to be the biggest in the history of Panamanian karate.

"For us it is an honor to have in Panama the likes of master Hirokazu Kanazawa, who is currently considered the most experienced karateka," commented Boutet.

As for the delegations scheduled to participate in the championship, confirmed countries include Argentina, Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Dominican Republic, St. Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, the United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Panama.

Boutet admitted that the favorites to win first place are the extremely talented Venezuelans.

"Venezuela is the team to beat; they receive scholarships to practice karate," he said. "Here the practitioners go to practice only after work or school."

The Panamanian delegation has been training for several months, he indicated, and they are ready for this event.

The first delegations will arrive in Panama on Wednesday, July 31st. Ticket prices to see the championship cost $5 for adults and $3 for seniors and children.

Source: www.laprensa.com.pa