The European Olympic Committees (EOC) announce the inclusion of kickboxing and beach soccer onto the sport programme of the European Games Krakow-Malopolska 2023.
Kickboxing under the government of WAKO, which has recently received full Olympic status, is exciting, modern, contact sport which is already part of the Asian Games, African Games, World Games and Combat Games, so the inclusion into the European Games was a natural next step.
The World Association of Kickboxing Organisations (WAKO) has experienced significant growth over the past decade and at European Games in Poland we will see 128 athletes competing for medals in both ring (full contact) and tatami (point fighting and light contact) disciplines.
"I am delighted at the inclusion of the sport of kickboxing into the official programme of the European Games 2023. I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to the EOC and local organising committees for making our inclusion possible. It continues our vision to showcase the very best athletes in Europe and share the positive and material values our sport has on the lives of people and the wider community that surrounds them,” said WAKO President Roy Baker (IRL).
EOC President Spyros Capralos (GRE) was delighted to welcome sport on board for 2023. “Beach soccer has already been a success at our Games and its party-like atmosphere is again likely to make it a must-see sport for everyone in Poland. With kickboxing, they have a clear vision for the development of their sport and have been creating opportunities for their top athletes globally. We are excited to see them at our Games and look forward to having another modern and exciting sport being showcased at the continental level.”
Chair of the European Games Coordination Commission Hasan Arat (TUR) praised all those involved in bringing the two sports to Krakow-Malopolska. “We have been in discussions with both sports for a number of months and all sides are very pleased that we can officially confirm their participation for the Games in 2023. We are really building an interesting and diverse sports programme and are confident that it will prove popular across the continent.”
WAKO Vice President and WAKO Europe acting President Istvan Kiraly (HUN) expressed his satisfaction after negotiations with EOC has been finished: “We are excited to work with the EOC and local organizing committees toward a common sustainable vision, showcasing our very best athletes in European sport. To be a part of upcoming European Games 2023 is extraordinary opportunity for our athletes in disciplines: Point Fighting, Full Contact and Light Contact kickboxing.”
The European Games are the continent’s premier multi-sport event for elite athletes and are held every four years. Beach soccer and kickboxing join the sports: 3×3 basketball, archery, badminton, beach handball, boxing, canoe, cycling, karate, modern pentathlon, muay thai, padel, shooting, ski jumping, sports climbing, taekwondo, teqball, triathlon and table tennis, as sports already on the 2023 programme.