Dubai was one of the first stops of the Karate 1-Premier League. The competition heated up in Salzburg, as athletes from all over won gold. Their journey to the Olympics, if it is still scheduled to happen, became clearer following the weekend competition.
Here are the full results from the event. For our followers in the MENA region, the tournament is available on the FIGHT SPORTS MAX app.
Once again, Sandra Sanchez took over the headlines. The star from Spain won her third medal in three years. It was a deja vu experience, as she beat Sakura Kokumai, the same person she beat in the finals in Dubai. Sanchez utilized the “Chatanyara Kushanku” kata, receiving a score of 27.38. Kokumai had a score of 25.4
“I feel very proud of this gold medal because it is the recognition for the work that (coach) Jesus del Moral has been doing, sometimes in the shadows,” Sanchez stated, via WKF. “He deserves all the credit for all the success. With this tournament, we close a period that comprised of the first big three tournaments, Paris, Dubai and Salzburg. We had the chance to fine-tune details in kata and now we focus on our next big goal, the European Championships.”
— World Karate Federation 🥋 (@worldkarate_wkf) March 1, 2020
Another champion showed a dominant display of athleticism, as Japan’s Miho Miyahara won her first major title this year in the Female Kumite -50kg. Following two “Yukos”, Miho beat Nadia Gomez Morales of Spain 2-0.
Miho stated, “I am so happy! Winning today was very good but what I really want is to win my ticket to the Olympic Games!”
Unfortunate circumstances resulted in a big day for Ugas Aktas of Turkey. He became a Grand Winner of the Male Kumite -84kg after Croatia’s Ivan Kvesic had to retire due to an injury.
“I am happy that I won gold here, but I prefer to win the medals after a fight,” Ugur stated. “My big goal is to take the gold medal at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. I am the first at the Olympic standings and the first at the WKF World ranking, so I see no reason why I can’t win the gold medal at the Games.”
Iran continued to take as many medals as possible. Hamideh Abbasali led the pack with a win in Female Kumite +68kg competition. She beat Clio Ferracuti in the finals 2-1 following a “Waza-ari”. This is the second title for Hamideh this year. She joined Bahman Asgari Ghoncheh, another World Title holder, who won the Male Kumite -75kg against the Ukraine’s Stanislav Horuna. Ghoncheh won the bout, which was scoreless for a while, by claiming an “Ippon”, earning his third gold this year.
There were plenty of upsets and first that took place during the tournament.
North Macedonia’s Emil Pavlov won the gold medal in Male Kumite -60kg over Angelo Crescenzo of Italy. Hitting the “Waza-ari”, it appeared as though the World Champion in Crescenzo was going to take it. Instead, Pavlov hit an “Ippon”, securing the 5-4 win.
Winning his first Karate 1-Premier League, Japan’s Kazumasa Moto beat Turkey’s Ali Sofuoglu with a score of 27.48. At 24, Moto managed to win the big one after earning medals in Series A competition.
“It is my first gold in Karate 1-Premier League so I am very happy,” Moto stated. “Today I concentrated on my kata to show everyone my best possible performance.”
In a result that was a long time coming, Sara Cardin of Italy won the Female Kumite -55kg over Jana Messerschmidt. Cardin won her first Karate 1-Premier League title in two years after hitting a “Yuko” for the 3-2 edge.
Li Gong of China won her second Karate 1-Premier League bout in as many tries against Feryal Abdelaziz. She beat the Egyptian 3-1 following an “Ippon” to secure the Female Kumite -68kg.
With Salzburg competition over, it doesn’t get any easier for the karate stars. Rabat (Morocco) will be the next stop, with competition set to take place from March 13 to 15th.