The WiZink Center sports hall in Madrid, Spain, will stage the 2018 edition of the World Senior Karate Championships after Lima in Peru was forced to pull out as host due to concerns over its proposed venue for the event.

The World Karate Federation (WKF) had initially awarded hosting rights to Lima in 2014, with the Peruvian capital seeing off rival bids from both Madrid and Egypt.

However, the Peruvian Federation of Karate revealed in a statement in February of this year that concerns had been raised over the construction timeline for the San Isidro Sports Centre, the proposed main venue for the championships. As a result, Lima had to step down as host.

The WKF has now confirmed that Madrid, which initially lost out in the bidding race, will host the event from November 6-11 next year.

Located at the centre of the Spanish capital, the WiZink Center has staged a host of major sporting events, including basketball’s Euroleague Final Four both in 2008 and 2015, as well as the finals stage of the 2014 International Basketball Federation’s Basketball World Cup in Spain.

Madrid is also no stranger to hosting the World Senior Karate Championships, having staged the competition in 1980 and 2002. In addition, the Spanish city of Granada played host to the event in 1992.

The World Senior Karate Championships usually takes place over a period of five days but the WKF has opted to extend next year’s event to a sixth day as it prepares to welcome a record number of competitors.

In 2016, the Championships in Linz, Austria, attracted more than 1,000 athletes from 110 countries, and the WKF expects to surpass this figure at the event next year, as interest in karate grows ahead of the sport’s debut at the 2020 summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

Image: Luis Garcia