The World Association of Kickboxing Organizations was recognized along with five other organizations at the 138th session of the International Olympic Committee.
July 20th became a significant day in sport karate history last week, when WAKO received official recognition by the IOC. This is a major step in the right direction for a league that hopes to one day bring sport martial arts to the Olympics to join other art forms like Taekwondo and Judo. WAKO is predominantly based in Europe and is focused on kickboxing and point fighting, but their events consistently draw competitors from other continents and their forms and weapons participation has steadily increased in recent years. The recognition granted at the recent IOC meeting was specifically for the sport of kickboxing.
WAKO was recognized alongside the International Cheerleading Union (ICU), International Federation Icestocksport (IFI), and World Lacrosse (WL), as well as two fellow martial arts organizations, the International Federation of Muaythai Associations (IFMA) and International Sambo Federation (FIAS). President Roy Baker provided the following statement:
Again we make history for our sport and this is a memorable day for our entire community and an inspiration to continue to develop our sport within the Olympic family of sports. Today I am grateful to President Bach for his continued support and to the members of the IOC for the confidence in bringing us into the Olympic family of sports. As a leader of the organization, I simply needed a boost like this to continue to drive our sport ensuring it has a sustainable future amongst the combat sports within the Olympic family. Thank you to the IOC Members who have accepted us, to the IOC Sports Department and to the IOC Executive Board and its President, Thomas Bach, for having understood our sport and recommended us.