Sadness reigns in the world of karate this week after the decision was taken to drop the sport for the 2024 Olympic Games due to be held in Paris. This decision came barely two years after its inclusion was announced for the upcoming Games in Tokyo in 2020.
That announcement was greeted with great enthusiasm across Spain, and especially on the Costa del Sol, given the number of active players, including Damián Quintero, from Torremolinos, who is currently one of the world's best.
However, now the Olympic dream is over and institutions and sports stars alike have joined voices in expressing their dismay.
First was the World Karate Federation which expressed its "sadness" over the exclusion. Then, the president of the Royal Spanish Federation of Karate, Antonio Moreno, went one step further and called the decision "intolerable and inadmissible". In the same vein, some of the biggest names on the Malaga scene have shown their discontent.
Quintero wrote on social media: "I reiterate the words of the president of the World Federation. We haven't yet had the opportunity to show karate's value as an Olympic sport and already they've withdrawn it from the Paris Games."
International medallist María Torres, from Malaga, was equally upset by the news. The 22-year-old said: "The feeling seeing this is was of sadness. All sportsmen and women of my age had our sights set on 2024 because we saw it as being much more attainable than Tokyo. They've not given us a chance to show anything. They've shown total disrespect for a sport that has millions of federated players around the world."
Torres went on to talk about one of the most major implications of this Olympic snub - financing. "No one is going to want to sponsor us now. The Olympics is the pinnacle; it's where everyone wants to be and they've taken it away from us. Including it, then taking it away without knowing if it worked is a disgrace," she said.
The national coach and trainer at Club Goju Ryu in Torremolinos, Lorenzo Marín, said: "This news is disappointing. It was unexpected; there were a lot of people training specifically for the Paris Games."