Nir was the driving force behind the choice of Jerusalem as the setting for the 30th European Traditional Karate Championship, held on November 16-17, 2011.
Some 170 martial artists from 15 countries competed in the event at the Malcha Stadium, kicked off by a gala opening ceremony in the presence of Mayor Nir Barkat, European ambassadors and other dignitaries. Young Israeli karate students participated in a colorful parade of flags to set the mood for the multinational match, which meets every two years in a different country.
Opening of the multinational event at Jerusalem's Malcha Stadium
(Photo: Oriyah Tadmor/Municipality of Jerusalem)
"It's an international prestigious event, and we were lucky to get help from the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the municipality of Jerusalem," says Nir. "It has a lot of benefits, not just in the sports domain, but for Israel in general. We are now a candidate to host the world championships in 2014, so this was very important for our country."
The competitors included junior martial artists aged 16-19, and seniors aged 19 and up. In addition to Israel, they represented Spain, Russia, Moldova, the United Kingdom, Romania, Poland, Ukraine, Macedonia, Czech Republic, Austria, Lithuania, France, Armenia and Cyprus.
The Polish athletes scored the most medals, with the Romanians, Macedonians and Ukrainians not far behind. The Israeli junior team came in third place, and Israelis winning individual third-place awards were Shiri Rinat for women's Ko-Go style and Reuven Sharf for men's Fuku-Go style.
"We got really good feedback - not one complaint," reports Nir. "They all had a great experience. The president of the Polish federation, who is also vice president of the International Traditional Karate Federation [ITKF], stayed in Israel a few extra days with his wife. He called from the Dead Sea to say how grateful he was."