Spokane has been selected to host the 2022 USA Karate National Championships, an event that will bring more than 2,000 of the nation’s top karate athletes to the Lilac City.
The event, which will be held June 30-July 3 of next year, marks the first time Spokane will host USA Karate for a major competition.
It also will be one of the first martial arts events to be held inside The Podium, which will be complete later this year, according to a Spokane Sports news release.
“What a great event for Spokane,” Eric Sawyer, Spokane Sports president and CEO, said in a statement. “Hosting the USA Karate National Championships illustrates the versatility of the new building and proves its multipurpose capabilities. The sport of karate is unique and exciting, and will be a great event for The Podium.”
The 2022 USA Karate Championships is anticipated to attract more than 2,500 attendees and generate 3,000 overnight hotel stays in the region. Visitor spending as a result of the event is expected to exceed more than $4 million, according to Spokane Sports.
Spokane was initially scheduled to host the 2020 USA Karate National Championships and Team Trials last July, but the events were postponed due to the pandemic. The 2022 USA Karate National Championships will select the Junior National Team for the Junior Pan American Championships and Junior World Championships. It also will select a pool of athletes for the Senior National Team Trials.
“We are very excited to bring the National Championships and Team Trials to Spokane,” Phil Hampel, USA Karate CEO, said in a statement. “We have heard so many great things from other national governing bodies who have held events in Spokane and we look forward to our members experiencing all the city has to offer.”
Spokane has hosted the 2018 USA Judo Junior Olympic National and International Championships, and the 2018 Pan American Taekwondo Championships.
Hosting the USA Karate National Championships will be an amazing opportunity for the Spokane region, said Brent Tibbetts, master instructor and owner of 3-Tigers Martial Arts in Spokane Valley.
“This is really kind of groundbreaking – not only for Spokane, but for martial artists in the area,” Tibbetts said of the event.
The event allows attendees to experience martial arts beyond what they see on television. It also gives gravity to the hard work, energy, time and sacrifice that athletes put into practicing martial arts, Tibbetts added.
“I’m going to go and support, and I’m trying to get our school to go and support,” he said. “I really want this to be an event for the community and all practitioners of martial arts, and the best way to do that is to show up, enjoy the day and the competitors. Martial arts is such a beautiful form of self-expression. … It’s amazing and a lifetime opportunity for my students to see people at that level.”