#ICYMI -- Interview with Antonio Espinos; AIBA Exec Wants Reformed Fed; Paralympic Origins 70 Years Ago

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World Karate President Antonio Espinos says his sport is determined to make the most of its Olympic debut.

(World Karate)

The sport is one of five selected by Tokyo 2020 in addition to the 28 core sports on the program. The martial art was born on the Japanese island of Okinawa more than a century ago before spreading worldwide.

But before the 2020 Olympics, the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires this October will provide the first taste of the Olympics for karate. A total of 48 athletes, split equally by gender, will head to Argentina for the YOG.

World Karate President Antonio Espinos has led the federation since 1998. He began practicing the sport in his youth, moving on to the leadership of the Spanish federation and the European Karate Federation.

Around the Rings Editor Ed Hula spoke to Espinos in Lausanne last month about karate and the Olympics, preparing for the Youth Olympic Games and his hopes for keeping karate on the Olympic program for Paris 2024.

Around the Rings: I wanted to talk to you about karate and Olympics. You’re having the first Olympic-related karate tournaments, karate events on the calendar. How does that feel?

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Tom VirgetsSays Fed Must Govern All Boxing

The sport of boxing needs a reformed international federation says Tom Virgets, now on the job for five months as AIBA executive director.

In an interview at the AIBA offices in Lausanne in July, Virgets talked about the challenges faced by the federation in the aftermath of a leadership upheaval in 2017. The IOC has suspended payments and communications to the federation and says boxing could lose its spot at the Tokyo Olympics without substantial changes.

In response, AIBA has submitted an extensive Foundation Plan to the IOC this month. The planaddresses the concerns that have been raised by the IOC, covering all aspects of the federation, finance, doping control, refereeing and governance.

Virgets says interim president Gafur Rakhimov "has the best interests of AIBA as interim president". Hecredits Rakhimov with successfully negotiating with creditors to spare the federation from bankruptcy under deals struck by former president C.K. Wu, Wu resigned under pressure late in 2017 but still remains IOC member in Chinese Taipei.

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Stoke Mandeville Games 70th Anniversary

The Paralympic Movement celebrates its 70th anniversary by returning to the place where it all began.

The first wheelchair sports competition was organized by Dr. Ludwig Guttmann at Stoke Mandeville, the home of Britain’s National Spinal Injuries Centre.

The Stoke Mandeville Games held on July 29, 1948 involved 16 injured servicemen and women taking part in an archery competition. By 1960, when the event became known as the Paralympic Games, 400 athletes from 23 countries were involved.

Dignitaries, former and current athletes as well as members of the Guttmann family gathered at Stoke Mandeville Stadium in Aylesbury, Great Britain on Sunday for a commemoration.

"Seventy years ago it was a few paraplegics from the Spinal Unit doing some archery, and in two years’ time there will be the Paralympics in Japan, with 5,000 competitors from all over the world. It’s amazing," Eva Loeffler, daughter of Ludwig Guttmann, was quoted by the IPC.

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