As head teacher on the Centre d’Excellence en Karaté du Québec, François Persico is not the sort to get caught off guard, however the abrupt cancellation of a significant martial arts competitors this weekend got here as fairly the sucker punch.
“It hit us, actually unexpectedly,” mentioned Persico.
Karaté Québec introduced Thursday that the Quebec Cup was postponed as a consequence of “confusion within the interpretation and utility of the Criminal Code” that makes karate competitions unlawful with out a provincial decree.
The weekend competitors in Montreal was for use as a variety occasion for the Canada Games.
However, the game now not has an exemption underneath the Code since karate will not be on the Olympic program for the 2024 Paris Games, Karaté Québec mentioned in a launch Thursday.
While the apply of the game is authorized, the removing of the Olympic exemption and lack of a decree means a contest may expose organizers, stakeholders and athletes concerned in so-called prizefights to the danger of punishable offences, the affiliation mentioned.
Frustrated athletes, coaches
“The affect is large,” mentioned Persico, who’s headed to Turkey subsequent week to accompany the nationwide staff to the junior world championships.
Normally, the Quebec occasion would assist put together athletes for the worldwide competitors.
Persico has a tournament coming at his personal centre, and that too might be pushed again, however he is assured that the province, working intently with Karaté Québec, will discover a answer quickly.
Karaté Québec president Stéphane Rivest stays hopeful as nicely. He mentioned his group has been working with the federal government’s lawyers since they first reached out concerning the difficulty on Sept. 30.
But progress has been slower than anticipated, given the latest provincial election and upcoming ministerial appointments, the group says.
“Our athletes are pissed off and our members and coaches are pissed off concerning the scenario,” Rivest mentioned.
The Ministry of Education’s leisure and sports activities security division is working with the group to search out “numerous attainable options,” mentioned authorities spokesperson Bryan St-Louis in an e mail Thursday.
Negotiations proceed, athletes practice
Meanwhile, Rivest mentioned the game remains to be a member of the Olympic motion and the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and is included in main multi-sport occasions exterior of the Summer Games.
The nationwide federation and the COC have reached out to supply assist, he mentioned.
The 16- and 17-year-old age classes on the postponed occasion had been for use as a qualifier for the Canada Games subsequent 12 months. Rivest mentioned the game is actually non-contact on the junior stage, with solely a “pores and skin contact” allowed.
“So that is once we come into the prizefighting difficulty. It’s like, ‘Really?'”
Light contact is tolerated for grownup rivals at occasions just like the Quebec Cup. Excessive contact is penalized.
Regardless of the postponed occasion, Persico mentioned he isn’t giving up and neither are his younger athletes.
“We’re fighters. We are karatekas,” he mentioned. “So we simply hold going and we anticipate the subsequent struggle. That’s all we do.”