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Elite of Asian Karate clash in anticipated AKF Senior Championships


The best Asian karatekas gather this weekend in Amman (Jordan) where the 15th edition of the AKF Senior Championships is taking place from June 13 to 15. The event will not only crown the new kings and queens of the sport in Asia; the tournament gets even greater importance since it is the first competition to attribute points for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualification process. 

Over 300 competitors from 29 countries have confirmed their participation at the event. World champions, World Ranking leaders and Grand Winners from Asian nations will meet in an anticipated showdown of first-class Karate. 

Japan will try to repeat the success of previous editions as the birth nation of the sport topped the pool table of the last AKF Championships with 12 medals and eight golds. The Japanese delegation is headed In Amman by Kata world champions Kiyou Shimizu and Ryo Kiyuna who hope to extend their domination in the category of choreographed movements. 

Grand Winners and current world champions Ayumi Uekusa and Ryutaro Araga act as front-runners in Female Kumite +68kg and Male Kumite -84kg respectively, while current continental title-holder Kayo Someya in Female Kumite -68kg, and promising Ken Nishimura in Male Kumite -75kg also hope to take the Japanese flag to the top of the podium. 

The attention of fans will be also placed on Iranian karatekas who aim at taking the spotlight of the event. The representatives of the Karate powerhouse dazzled in last year’s edition of the tournament with ten medals, and now compete in Amman with a first-class delegation of 17 athletes. Among the favourites, world champion Amir Mehdizadeh in Male Kumite -60kg heads the top line-up of the Iranian representation. Negin Bagheri Bazardeh in Female Kata and Ali Asghar Asiabari in Male Kumite -75kg will try to take their chances in Amman.  

With a number of top competitors absent from the event in some categories, the tournament appears as the opportunity for newcomers to make a name for themselves in the elite of the sport. Current continental champions Tareq Hamedi of Saudi Arabia in Male Kumite +84kg and Chinese Taipei's Tzu-Yun Wen in Female Kumite -55kg, as well as Grand Winner Sadriddin Saymatov of Uzbekistan in Male Kumite -60kg are among the up-and-coming karatekas hoping to shine in the anticipated competition. Grand Winner and current Asian champion Xiaoyan Yin of China in Female Kumite -61kg is also set to be one of the sensations of the competition since the Chinese ace aims at winning her third consecutive continental crown. 

The competition starts on Friday, July 13 with the elimination rounds of the first categories and it is scheduled to finish on Sunday, July 15 with the closing ceremony.  

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