While almost the whole world is quarantined due to the COVID-19 pandemic and waiting for life to return to its previous rhythm, athletes do not sit still and come up with new ways and options for continuing sports season.
In recent months, online club workouts have actively entered daily life. After some time, many instructors began to involve other coaches and athletes in conducting workouts for their students. The next stage of a peculiar evolution was international online training, in which people from different countries and continents are simultaneously participating. In parallel, they began to hold online tournaments in the “kata” section. But most likely they can be attributed more to the competition than to the tournament, since according to the terms of such an event, the participant must send the video to the organizers, and they, in turn, evaluate it. But there is one point, in this option, the participant can send the organizers the video where he performed the kata best, and he can have a lot of attempts.
But, as in any area, the progress does not stand still here.
Last weekend, the 1st online kata and physical training tournament “Stay Home” was held in Lithuania.
This tournament differs from others because it was held according to all the rules of a real championship – 4 tatami, 4 teams of judges (including substitute judge). The participants had only one attempt to demonstrate their kata, according to the traditional competitions.
We asked Aleksey Sveshnikov, the head of the organizing committee, the general secretary of the Lithuanian Federation Kyokushinkai karate, what was this tournament like and how did it go.
Alexey, tell us a few words about how the tournament was organized, and about its format.
We are very pleased that we were able to organize such an event for our athletes in a real tournament format. And I want to thank all the participants, judges and people who participated in its organization and conduction. Athletes from 15 Lithuanian clubs took part in the tournament, in total of 170 people in age categories from 8 to 14 years. As in a regular tournament, the athletes were divided into 4 tatami, in our case it was a kind of online rooms, along with waiting rooms. Each tatami was served by one referee and 2 judges. Furthermore, for each tatami we had one substitute judge. Depending the draw informed the participants which tatami they were performing on and accordingly connected to it using a particular link. We also organized a kind of opening ceremony with a march and a speech by officials. The following persons spoke there:
The Vice Minister Kornelija Tiesnesyte was very surprised by this format and commended our work. In her speech during the tournament opening ceremony, she said: “I am very glad to see you all here. This is an unprecedented event when such contests are held during COVID-19 quarantine, which has affected the whole world. Such changes in the world are always either a problem or new opportunities. My congratulations to the Kyokushin Karate Federation that you found this opportunity and you took advantage of it. And I am very glad that the rules that you use in regular competitions will also be used during this difficult time while you are at home. I want to wish the athletes to keep calm, comply with all the rules of the competition and the rules of all online connections, and I also want to remind you all that “everything is easier at home”. Have a good and successful day and a great tournament. Osu!” We decided that we would divide all participants into small subcategories, no more than 4 people each. And it turned out that all the participants became prizewinners of the tournament and were awarded with medals and diplomas.
In parallel to the kata tournament, we held a physical fitness tournament. All together it took us 4 hours.
What technical problems did you face in organization?
The main question was how to organize everything technically. How to connect our technical capabilities, including Kumite Tehnology, uninterrupted online broadcasting, interaction between the judges. The huge and main pressure fell on the tournament secretariat employees, who performed numerous tasks and had to work quickly and clearly. They had to control the connection of judges, participants and display certain athletes. All draws were conducted online through Kumite Technology. This was done for the comfort of those athletes who were waiting for their turn to connect. Each of them could observe what is happening on the tatami. In addition, all 4 tatami were broadcast on Youtube, which also gave some difficulties from time to time. When you are in the sport hall, you can physically go up to someone and do something. When everyone is at home, it gives us additional difficulties. Eventually, I think that our first tournament of this kind went well enough, and we managed to do everything at a high level.
Considering that we will not be able to hold habitual tournaments soon, is it planned to organize such events in the future?
This is not our last event. We are planning to hold another tournament on May 30, but on a larger scale. It will be dedicated to summer certification. We are also planning to hold the European Cup for clubs (dojo) on June 6-7, which will be held in the same format. Taking into account the postponement of the European Championship in Georgia and other international tournaments, we want to give the opportunity to all the wishing to attend to take part in it. Now we are working on the Regulations of the tournament and hope that it will be ready within a week.
I think, after such a tournament, many of your colleagues will want to do something similar at their place. Are you ready to share your experience and help them conducting tournaments in other countries?
Of course! Our colleagues from different parts of the world who also want to hold their tournaments in this format are already contacting us. We are already holding consultations and provide various support on our part.