Interview by Reşat Onur Er – We have done an interview with Werner Sossna, Vice President of WAKO IF and Vice President of WAKO Germany, during WAKO Seniors European Kickboxing Championships 2014 for ring disciplines in Bilbao, Spain. We asked him questions about the upcoming German Open 2015 event, which is Germany’s biggest kickboxing event, and general questions both about kickboxing and WAKO.
What are your expectations from German Open 2015 event? How many participants do you expect?
Last year in German Open 2014 we had more than 600 participants. This year for German Open 2015, we expect more participants from many countries.
Do you have any support from local and national authorities for German Open 2015 event?
Unfortunately we don’t have any support from any local or national authorities for this event but we have support from private sponsors for our event.
German Open 2015 will take place in Ebern. Why did you choose Ebern as host town of this event? Can you give us information about the city?
Ebern is a small town in Bavaria region. The main reason for choosing Ebern as host town of this event was the fact that Ebern is a convenient town to travel since it is near to many countries, so it will be very easy to travel there for many participants of the event. Although it is a small town, it has some interesting touristic places as Eyrichshof Castle and Castle/Manor House Fischbach, and Ebern has also some of the most interesting castle ruins in Germany (Burg Bamberg, Burg Rotenhan and Raueneck) so I believe that participants will enjoy staying in Ebern during the event.
For the first time, German Open will be organized under supervisory of WAKO Europe. Will this affect the event in any aspect?
Under supervisory of WAKO Europe, we will organize this event as we are used to organize under supervisory of WAKO IF so, this won’t affect the event in any aspect.
Is kickboxing a popular sport in Germany?
Unfortunately, kickboxing is not a very popular sport in Germany. Football is the most popular sport in Germany and among combat sports; Karate is the most popular one. Although WAKO Germany has many members, German people don’t know kickboxing very well. The most important reason for that is we have a big problem about promotion of kickboxing. In Germany, authorities and TV channels are not keen on broadcasting Kickboxing events on TV and promotion of professional events is very hard. That is why we cannot promote our sport in Germany, so it is not popular among German people.
We are together at WAKO Seniors European Championships 2014 for ring disciplines. How is your impression about this event?
My impression about this WAKO European Seniors Championship is very good. Here we see very high level fights. For example, one of the best German fighters here lost his fight because his opponent was also a very good athlete. Our level in Continental and World Championships is increasing. Here in this European Championships have participants from 34 different countries and this is a very good number for a continental championship.
As a former athlete, what do you think about level of fights and fighters in WAKO events?
Last years, our level in WAKO is becoming higher and higher. Nowadays we have very good fighters in WAKO. I think if former WAKO champions from 90’s participate in WAKO events these days; they wouldn’t have any chance for being champions because our athletes have much more higher level than in the past.
Reşat Onur Er, is a law graduate from Turkey with LL.M degree. He is involved in kickboxing since 2012. He is Turkish Kickboxing Federation Chairman of Students Committee and Member of Committee on Foreign Relations, WAKO IF Member of Education/Students Committee WAKO European Kickboxing Federation Member of Students/Educational Committee and is founder of WorldKickboxing.Net. He is a licensed kickboxing athlete who has 7th Dan Dark Brown Belt. He has been working actively for development of kickboxing in Turkey and Africa. He works at Cape Town Iron and Steel Works as a Legal Assistant.