Spain & Japan Vie For WKF World Titles In Madrid
The eyes of the karate world are affixed upon Spain this weekend, as the Karate World Championships come to Madrid.
On the third day of competition the host nation and Japan would claim control over the Kata category, with four spots taken from the two nations in the finals of the Team Kata competition.
The Spanish Male Team Kata have bounced back from their bronze medal performance in 2016, as José Manuel Carbonell, Sergio Galán and Francisco José Salazar head to the gold medal bout. Following a unanimous 5-0 victories in the pool phase, the Spanish team would be able to skirt by with a split decision win over Turkey in the semi-finals.
“We have had such an outstanding support today. I have never felt something like this before. Now we just want to give our best in the final,” said Sergio Galan, while team-mate José Manuel Carbonell added: “We do not want to wake up from this dream. With the support that we are receiving, we will try to perform at our best in the final.”
Looking to best them is the Japanese squad headed by Ryo Kiyuna, Arata Kinjo, and Takuya Uemura, as a trio that have taken all three of their victories by 5-0 sweeps, including their semi-final win over Italy.
“It is our second time in the final of the World Championships and we are very proud. The ambiance was different from the events that we are used to attending in Japan. We did our best and enjoyed very much the reactions that we received from fans in the stands,” said Ryo Kiyuna.
“Japan is the birth-place of Karate and for me, as Japanese and as a Karateka it is great news that the next Olympic Games will be taking place in my country, in Japan. I am very much looking forward to showing my strong Karate there.”
The finals of the Female Team Kata will also feature the Japanese and Spanish teams, in an exciting rematch of their 2016 final in Linz.
Japan looks to follow up their 2016 victory as Saori Ishibashi, Mai Mugiyama and Sae Taira find themselves in the finals with two unanimous decision wins and a 4-1 semi-final win over Turkey.
For the host nation, they look to swap a silver from 2016 for gold in-front of their fellow Spaniards. The team of Marta García Lozano, Lidia Rodríguez Encabo and Raquel Roy hope to have the same success they’ve had on their road to the finals, completing three 5-0 victories on their way to their rematch with Japan.
“We are euphoric, ecstatic, so, so happy. I don’t know what to say!” stated Marta Garcia Lozano close to tears. “There are no words to describe what we are feeling right now,” added Raquel Roy, while Lidia Rodriguez Encabo said: “We could really feel the support that we have been receiving. We would like to tell all those that helped us much to be here that we will compensate their support by doing our best in the final”.
Initial Report and photos Via: WKF