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IV International Martial Arts Games to Bring More Than 2000 Competitors to Estonia
Posted on Tue, Feb 1, 2011 at 7:44 am
by IDMA Editor

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Competitions in a number of fields will be held over the five days, including taekwondo, kudo, karate, sambo, sportchan, muay thai, wu-shu and aikido. Around two hundred athletes from Estonia will be taking part. Running alongside the competitions will be a cultural programme, visitors to which will learn about the cultures and traditions of different peoples.

Mihhail Kõlvart, head of the Estonian organising committee of the event and of the Estonian Taekwon-do Association, says that the games are designed to promote martial arts as sports, underscore the importance of healthy lifestyles and introduce different cultures. "Martial arts aren't supported at the national level," he explained, "so only a handful of our best athletes are able to take part in international title events. But thanks to the International Games, many of our athletes will have the chance to take part in a truly major event."

The opening ceremony of the games will take place at the Saku Suurhall arena on 25 February. Invited to attend the event in addition to the Estonian organisers, officials and athletes have been International Olympic Committee members Hein Verbruggen and Chang Ung. Verbruggen is also the president of Sport Accord.

A unique martial arts and folklore gala will take place as part of the opening ceremony, with the audience enjoying performances by martial arts specialists from as far afield as Japan, Korea, Australia and South Africa. The programme showcases spectacular acrobatics, the sheer power of the human body in breaking through a variety of objects, exotic dances and an unmissable fire show.

"The games aren't merely a major sporting event, but also represent a fantastic cultural experience," said Estonian Olympic Committee president Mart Siimann. "They give us the chance to admire the beauty and spirit of sport, as an ancient force for good that brings people together, but which also highlights national identity. And of course it's competition in the best and fairest sense of the word."

The games form part of the official Tallinn 2011 - European Capital of Culture programme. The previous three games were held in North Korea (twice) and Thailand. Around 6000 athletes in Estonia practise martial arts.

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