Philippine karatekas find refuge in POC as world body suspends local federation

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – There should be no disrupting the Philippine karatedo team’s preparation for the 2018 Asian Games. 

That’s what the Philippine Olympic Committee hopes to do after it took the national karatekas under its wings following the World Karate Association’s (WKF) suspension of the Philippine Karate Federation (PKF) due to alleged misuse of funds.

“We need to get the best athletes to represent the country and leadership or membership issues should not disenfranchise them. If the POC can assure this, then we are willing to take on the challenge,” POC president Ricky Vargas said in a statement. 

In a letter to PKF president Joey Romasanta dated April 17, 2018, WKF president Antonio Espinos said it had "decided to withdraw recognition” of the local association “with immediate effect.”

The PKF will be given a chance to air its side during the world congress of the WKF on November 5 in Madrid, Spain.

Last Monday, April 23, several members of the national karatedo team requested Vargas to assist them  in their training for the 2018 Asian Games this August and other competitions in the wake of the controversy. 

In the past months, the national karatekas have accused local karate officials of misuse of funds. Last year, for instance, the athletes said they failed to receive the full amount of their allowance during a 20-day training in Germany.

The plea prompted Vargas to take charge of the training and other related activities of the national karatedo team.

Former taekwondo jin Jobet Morales has been tasked to head the team's training.

The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) has also withdrawn its support for the PKF, but continues to support the financial needs of the athletes. It has sought the help of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to probe the PKF. 

"To prove that we put the interest of the country above all else, I have agreed to the interim solution of POC president Ricky Vargas and we will accede to the Philippine Olympic Committee's plan to assume the responsibility of selection and training of national karatedo team for international competitions. This is the arrangement while we confront  the issues before the World Karate Federation,” PKF president Joey Romasanta, who also serves as POC vice president, said in a statement. – Rappler.com 

Beatrice Go

More commonly known as “Bee”, Beatrice is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Phillippine sports governance, national teams, football and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.

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