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Pan-American Karate Championship This Week

Five hundred karate experts are on their way to Costa Rica to participate in the 6th annual Pan-American Shotokan Karate Championship Aug. 1-5, all hoping to roundhouse-kick their way to a title.

This is the first time the championship has been set in Costa Rica, and the mix of delegations and competitors come from 12 countries combined, including the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Chile and Argentina.

Several shotokan world champions, including Alejandro Castro, Jean Carlo Vásquez and Greile Ortiz, are slated to compete, among other well-recognized names.

“We’re working on a first-class event, and the quantity of karate artists, as well as the delegations that will be in Costa Rica, confirm the importance of this event,” said sensei Alex Vargas, director of the Costa Rican chapter of the International Shotokan Karate Federation (

Shotokan is a form of karate with its origins in the early 1900s, according to the Shotokan Karate of America Web site, and is a fusion of several older styles.

This year’s tournament holds special significance, as it will also be a celebration of the 30th anniversary of the founding of the International Shotokan Karate Federation.

Approximately 80 Tico athletes will be competing in the tournament, making it an important opportunity for some Tico karate artists who otherwise couldn’t afford to travel to international tournaments, according to Vargas.

“This tournament brings those competitors here,” he said.

The event will be held at the National Gymnasium in La Sabana, in western San José. The price of admission is ¢1,500 (about $3) each day. For more information, call 816-8387.



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