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Asian Karate elite clash for gold at AKF Championships


The domination of Asian Karate is at stake this week at the 2017 AKF Championships. The competition being held in Astana (Kazakhstan) will crown the new kings and queens of the sport in Asia and will present the new powerhouses of Karate in the continent in a thrilling competition. 

The question among fans this week is who will be the new heroes of Asian Karate. The 2017 edition of the AKF Championships gathers nearly 700 competitors from 27 countries clashing for gold in the 53 categories in dispute. The event to be held in the Kazakh city will be massive as it brings together the senior competition and the Cadet, Junior & U-21 tournaments.

Most of the categories being contested this week will be up for grabs since some of the top competitors will be absent from the tournament. Japanese karatekas will try to extend their traditional pre-eminence at the event as frontrunners from the birth nation of the sport will try to confirm their favourite status. 

World champion Ryo Kiyuna aims at taking the Japanese flag to the top of the podium and acts as one of the biggest stars of the tournament. The two-time world titleholder will attempt to increase his outstanding winning streak in international competitions, as the 27 year-old karateka has not lost a bout in nearly four years. The Okinawa native hopes to earn his second Asian crown after his victory in the 2015 edition of the tournament, so to win back-to-back titles in world and continental level. 

Also with the intention of claiming consecutive world and continental crowns, Ayumi Uekusa hopes to complete her victory in the 2016 World Championships with a triumph in the Female Kumite +68kg category in the tournament in Astana. The World ranking leader has won two gold medals in three appearances in international competition this year after her victories in Karate 1-Premier League in Dubai and in Rotterdam thus confirming her top form. 

Emiri Iwamoto in Female Kata, Ken Nishimura in Male Kumite -75kg, Kayo Someya in Female Kumite -68kg and the always powerful Male and Female Kata teams will be other of the Japanese candidates to win gold at the event. 


The attention of fans will also be captured by world ranking leaders trying to cause a sensation in Astana. Iran’s Sajad Ganjzadeh will compete in Astana with the golden stripes on the karate-gi showing his world champion status. The 25 year-old karateka acts as favourite in the Male Kumite +84kg category and will try to win his third gold in major international competitions this year after the titles in Karate 1-Premier Leagues in Dubai and Paris. 

Fellow teammate Amir Mehdizadeh is in a similar situation, and the defending World champion will try to prevail in Male Kumite -60 Kg. 

In Women’s competition, Malaysia’s top karateka Syakilla Salni Jefry Krishnan hopes to win her first continental crown in Female Kumite -55kg, just as China’s Yin Xiaoyan who is placed in the third position of the world ranking and will be among the frontrunners in Female Kumite -61kg. 

A new generation of karatekas will also try to catch the attention of fans in Astana. Uzbekistan’s Sadriddin Saymatov leads this new breed of young competitors; the karateka has claimed no less of three gold medals in international competition this year at only 19 years old thus producing an outstanding demonstration of the impact of young competitors in high-level Karate. 

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