The 12th edition of The World Games is poised to commence from August 7 to 17, 2025, in Chengdu, China, offering an electrifying stage for the world’s top karate athletes. As these competitors prepare for the pinnacle of their sporting careers, understanding the qualification process is key. Here, we delve into the intricate system that determines who will compete in this prestigious event.
The Fundamental Principles
At its core, the qualification for karate at the 2025 World Games operates under two main rules:
- Nominal Qualification: Athletes earn their spots individually by name.
- One Competitor Per Country, Per Category: This rule ensures a diverse representation of nations across all categories.
First Qualification Phase
The initial phase of qualification hinges on performances at the World Senior Championships in Budapest 2023. Here’s how it breaks down:
- Direct Qualification: The gold, silver, and one of the bronze medalists (selected based on the highest World ranking a day after the Championships) directly qualify.
- Substitution Policy: If the top bronze medalist cannot participate, the second-best bronze winner steps up. Beyond that, athletes are chosen based on the World Ranking as of March 31, 2025.
The list of 36 karatekas punching their tickets for Chengdu 2025 includes World champions in Kata Ali Sofuoglu (TUR) and Hikaru Ono (JPN), Female Kumite World champions Moldir Zhangbyrbay (KAZ), Tuba Yakan (TUR), Li Gong (CHN), Iryna Zaretska (AZE), and Saito Ayaka (JPN), and Male Kumite World Champions Christos-Stefanos Xenos (GRE), Steven Da Costa (FRA), Abdalla Mamduh Abdelaziz (EGY), Youssef Badawy (EGY), and Medhi Filali (FRA).
FULL LIST of the first Karate athletes qualified for The World Games 2025.
Second Qualification Phase
This stage shifts focus to the World Karate Federation (WKF) Rankings:
- Earning Places: The top three athletes in each category in the WKF Rankings as of March 31, 2025, qualify, provided their country doesn’t already have a representative in that category.
- Substitution Mechanism: If a qualified athlete withdraws, the next highest-ranked athlete in the WKF Rankings as of the same date will take their place.
Third Qualification Phase: Host Country Advantage
A unique aspect of The World Games is the host country’s privilege:
- Host Country Slot: For each category, the highest-ranked athlete from China as of March 31, 2025, will qualify.
- Substitution Scenario: If the top Chinese athlete in any category is unable to participate, the next highest-ranked Chinese athlete steps in. If no suitable Chinese replacement is available, the slot goes to the next athlete in the global ranking, regardless of nationality.