Kickboxing's largest governing body, WAKO (World Association of Kickboxing Organisations) has been provisionally recognised as a member body of the International Olympic Committee.
This is a huge step towards becoming a fully fledged Olympic sport, and is testament to the progress WAKO have made at a World and National level.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) are the authority responsible for organising the modern Olympic games, and this news comes after an IOC Executive Committee met today in Tokyo, the host city for the next Olympics (2020).
Taekwondo, Judo and Karate (2020 only) are the current Olympic martial arts, and it has been a longheld belief in the Kickboxing world that it should be among them. Tireless work of WAKO officials has led to steady development over the past few years.
Roy Baker, president of WAKO Europe and Irish Open organiser broke the news and said -
"Today, one of our dreams have been realised. WAKO has been recognised by the IOC as a member provisionally, at the IOC Executive Committee meeting today in Tokyo.
"This is the biggest step in the history of our sport. Special thanks goes to Espen Lund, and the legal team Francesca Falsoni and Nikolaus Gstättner and of course Barbara Falsoni.
"This was an extraordinary team alongside and supporting our past presidents, Ennio Falsoni and Borislav Pelevich who had the energy and vision.
"It has been a long and tough road and something positive that our sport deserves. Now we must move forward, stronger, united and with a single vision."
WAKO released the following statement:
"Kickboxing is a modern combat sport practiced by millions worldwide, but today November 30th, 2018 will remain in our sports history as one of the milestones, because the sport of Kickboxing has today been granted provisional recognition by the IOC Executive Board. The decision was taken by the IOC Executive Board in Tokyo Japan on 30th November 2018 upon the IOC Sports Department’s recommendation.
Kickboxing under the world governing body of WAKO applied for recognition as an IOC sport in 2016 and has underpinned its values alongside IOC by the WAKO to foster, develop and promote the Olympic values.
The sport of Kickboxing has undergone a fundamental transformation during this time to ensure it exceeds all the requirements of the IOC recognition process. The sport of Kickboxing under WAKO has 129 affiliated countries of which over 90 are formally recognized by their Ministry of Sport or National Olympic Committee.
WAKO Interim President, Francesca Falsoni, stated “The long journey started back in 2007 but we formally applied for the IOC recognition on 31st August 2016. It has been a long but rewarding process. WAKO has experienced a massive development over the last years and we really feel we deserve such recognition. All our hard work, focused attention on development, patience and a dedicated and competent teamwork has finally paid off. When everything is settled we will raise the bar and reach for new and higher goals.
We also want to congratulate our colleagues in Sambo and Lacrosse that achieved the same recognition.”
There is no confirmation on exactly how Kickboxing's Olympic future will look, but it is an extremely important step in the long journey towards bringing Olympic Kickboxing competition to fruition.