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First-class karatekas surprise in day 1 of #Karate1Rabat


The Karate 1-Premier League Rabat started today with a first day of competition that showcased top athletes kicking and punching their way to the finals. Sandra Sanchez and Kiyou Shimizu, Serap Ozcelik and Burak Uygur, and Anzhelika Terliuga and Stanislav Horuna were among the big names in the opening day of the thrilling event. 


For the fourth time this season, the final of Female Kata will see Sandra Sanchez of Spain facing Kiyou Shimizu of Japan. The two biggest stars of the category extend their domination of the competition and will meet in another final much to the celebration of Kata fans. World champion Sandra Sanchez who had prevailed in two of the three finals of the season excelled in her presentation of “Papuren” kata to top the pool with a score of 26.12. Meanwhile, World Championships runner-up Shimizu qualified to take her 27th consecutive medal in international competitions after performing a flawless “Chatanyara Kushanku” kata. Shimizu headed the pool with the highest score of 26.6. 

“Each one of us competing here is improving day by day. We must get better and better because the rest of the competitors are also showing a greater level in each tournament. It is harder for me and for Kiyou to meet again in the final because it means that we have to show the judges something different each time,” said World champion Sanchez. 


The current owners of the “Best of the Best” awards took the spotlight on the first day of action as three defending Grand Winners reached the finals. The quest of the Grand Winners to the gold medals was started by Eray Samdan of Turkey. The promising Turkish karateka qualified for the final of Male Kumite -60kg after edging former Grand Winner Sadriddin Saymatov of Uzbekistan in semi-finals 2-0. 

One of the surprising new names of this edition of the Karate 1-Premier League, Darkhan Assadilov of Kazakhstan made it to his second final this year after defeating current World champion Angelo Crescenzo of Italy in semi-finals by a convincing 7-3. It will be the fourth medal in four events for Assadilov who took golds in Karate 1-Premier League Dubai and Karate 1-Series A Salzburg and a bronze medal in Karate 1-Premier League Paris. 


In a demonstration of resilience and efficiency, Serap Ozcelik of Turkey qualified for her third Karate 1-Premier League final this year. The winner of the two first events of the season will fight for her third consecutive title following a forceful showcase of abilities in Rabat. The current Grand Winner of Female Kumite -50kg from Turkey beat Bettina Plank of Austria by ‘Hantei’ or decision to claim her fifth medal in six events this year. Her rival in the quest for gold will be Egypt’s Radwa Sayed who surprised and qualified for her first final of Karate 1-Premier League after her title here in Rabat two years ago. The 22-year-old karateka defeated Belarus’ Mariya Koulinkovitch in semi-finals by 4-1. 

Interestingly enough, the final of Male Kumite -67kg will also feature a Grand Winner and it will also be an Egypt vs. Turkey affair. Grand Winner Burak Uygur of Turkey made to his first final this year after defeating Japan’s Hiroto Shinohara in semi-finals 2-2. On the other side of the tatami, Egypt’s Ali Elsawy will try to retake the title in Rabat which he took last year following his triumph by ‘Hantei’ or decision over Japan’s Nakano Soichiro in semi-finals (2-2). 


The two final spots in Female Kumite -55kg went to two karatekas going back to winning ways. Ukraine’s Anzhelika Terliuga had managed to reach the finals of the two first Karate 1-Premier League this year, and returned to the title-deciding bout after taking a bronze medal in Karate 1-Series A Salzburg and a fifth place at the European Championships. The former Grand Winner from Ukraine bounced back to win the semi-final bout against Iran’s Travat Khaksar by 6-3. Her rival in the final is Tzu-Yun Wen of Chinese Taipei. The 26-year-old karateka from Chinese Taipei defeated Turkey’s Tuba Yakan in semi-finals 2-1 and qualified to her second final this year. 

Stanislav Horuna followed Terliuga’s footsteps and also qualified to the final in his quest to recover the Grand Winner award. Horuna who won the “Best of the Best” award in Male Kumite -75kg last year reached his first Karate 1-Premier League final this year with suspense after eliminating Ken Nishimura of Japan in semi-finals by “Senshu” or fist unopposed point 3-3. The final bout of the category will have Iran’s Ali Asghar Asiabari as the other contestant. The Iranian karateka who has never won a Karate 1-Premier League event surprised with a convincing 11-3 victory over France’s Logan Da Costa in semi-finals. 

Action will continue in Rabat on Saturday with the second day of competition as the rest of the finalists will be decided. The medal bouts on Sunday will be streamed LIVE on 

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