Following a productive first day, the finals of the Karate-1 Premier League have come and gone. Taking place in Dubai, the journey to the Olympics took a very interesting turn. Medalists earned more gold while surprises were made along the way.
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.
In Kata competition, Sandra Sanchez utilized the “Kishimoto no Kushanku” Kata for a score of 27.54. That beat out Sakura Kokumai, who had a score of 25.82. Sanchez earned a score of 27.94 in the opening rounds to be the first finalist. She now has two gold medals, winning one in Paris while also holding two more from the World Beach and European Games.
“It has been a very emotional moment for me,” Sanchez stated, via WFK. “I have been working in this Kata for the past two years, and we were waiting for the right moment to present it in competition. Finally, this moment came today and I had a mix of emotions. I was nervous about performing the new kata in the final but I felt good and everything went well.”
Aaaand that's a wrap🎉! HUGE congratulations to all of our athletes who competed in the Karate1 Premier League in Dubai🥋🇺🇸! Next Stop …Salzurg 💪 pic.twitter.com/kE9jhmGNPx
— USA Karate (@usankf) February 16, 2020
On the male side of the kata, Spain’s Damian Quintero beat Venezuela’s Antonio Diaz. The multi-time medalist scored 27.26 thanks to his “Chatanyara Kushanku” performance. Diaz ended up scoring 26.08.
“I am glad that I could win here in Dubai, and I am especially pleased that I could do it with ‘Chatanyara Kushanku’. I had not done this kata in quite some time; I had a super opponent in front of me today, but I chose to focus on my own performance,” Quintero stated. “I am trying new approaches in order to be as prepared as possible for the Olympic Games.”
At 31, Serap Ozcelik Arapoglu has won multiple medals during the European Championships. She won gold in 2013 during the World Games and in 2014 at the Karate World Championship. Now, the star of the Kumite -50kg can add another trophy to her collection.
Arapoglu beat Spain’s Nadia Gomez Morales with a score of 5-2. It was another positive step for the multi-time winner.
Already a medal winner at the 2018 World Karate Championships, Italy’s Angelo Crescenzo was able to secure his spot after so many years. Crescenzo beat Kazahkstan’s Darkhan Assadilov by a score of 2-0 in the male Kumite -60kg.
A two-time gold medalist in the European Championships and a Karate-1 Premier League winner in 2017, Ukraine’s Anzhelika Terliuga took home the crown once again. She won the Kumite -55kg after a 1-0 win over Egypt’s Yassmin Attia by using the “Yuko” in Dubai.
In a rematch of the finals of the 2018 World Championships, Steven Da Costa once again outpointed Vinicius Figueira for the win. The French star dominated to a 6-0 score in the Kumite -67kg final. Da Costa connected two “Ippon” by “Mawashi Geri” to outshine his rival.
“The level of all the competitors here is unbelievable,” Da Costa stated. “I did not take this bout as a repetition of the World Championships nor do I think that it was a ‘revenge’ bout. I just tried to do my best on the tatami.”
Winning her first gold medal this year, China’s Xiaoyan Yin beat Iran’s Shima Alessadi in the Kumite -61kg with a score of 3-1. She previously won silver while in Paris.
The surprise run of Azerbaijan’s Rafael Aghayev continued in Dubai. The man who beat World Champion Bahman Ghoncheh in the opening rounds defeated Italy’s Luigi Busa with a score of 3-2. Aghayev was down 2-1 before coming back to shock the world once again. It was a fitting end to a true rivalry fight.
“I have been fighting against Luigi Busa for the past 15 years, and I have great respect for him,” Aghayev stated. “I respect him very much both in and out of the tatami. We know each other so well that even with closed eyes we know what the other is going to do. This gold medal is very important for me and it is a big step towards the Olympic Games. I wish the best success to all the athletes in the quest to the Olympic Games. May the strongest win.”
One of the most intense contests pitted Iran’s Zabiollah Poorshab against Kazakhstan’s Daniyar Yuldashev in the Kumite -84kg. The bout between the two was at 5-5 until Poorshab scored the “ippon” to win 8-5. This was a true highlight-reel bout with enough “Yukos” and “Ippons’ to spare.
Other results from the day:
– China’s Li Gong won gold after edging Feryal Abdelaziz of Egypt 3-0.
– Germany’s Jonathan Horne, who won gold in the 2018 World Karate Championships in Madrid, won gold once again in the Kumite -84kg. The first unopposed point (Senshu) gave him the win over Georgia’s Gogita Arkania after a 1-1 stalemate throughout the bout.
-Turkey’s Meltem Hocaoglu Akyol won the Kumite +68kg for women after a 2-1 score over Egpyt’s Shymaa Abouel Yazed.
— World Karate Federation 🥋 (@worldkarate_wkf) February 16, 2020
Now that the events in Dubai are over, one of the last stops before the Olympics is Salzburg. Athletes will head to Austria for a set of events that will be held from February 28 to March 1.