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French karatekas shine in second day of #Karate1Paris

2019-01-26

The second day of competition of the 2019 Karate 1-Premier League Paris demonstrated why the event in the French city is one of the flagship competitions of the sport. Electric bouts, surprising results and positive performance of local stars dominated the second day of action. 

TOP FAVOURITES MEET IN MALE KATA FINAL 

Just as it happened in the Female Kata competition, the final of Male Kata will see the two top contenders of the category face-to-face in the title-deciding bout. World champion and current Grand Winner Ryo Kiyuna of Japan will clash for gold against World Championships runner-up and former Grand Winner Damian Quintero of Spain. 

World title-holder Kiyuna dominated the two first rounds of the competition and finished the last pool with the highest tally of points (26.72). Meanwhile, Damian Quintero also prevailed in the initial pools so to win the ticket to the final as the first of pool 1 in round 3 (24.92). 

Quintero and Kiyuna had already met in the final of the World Championships in Madrid. In the capital of Spain, Kiyuna retained the world title with a convincing victory over the Spanish Karate Star. 

GWENDOLINE PHILIPPE TAKES FRENCH FLAG TO FINAL 

Following Steven Dacosta’s success on Friday, Gwendoline Philippe celebrated her newly-acquired Grand Winner status with a hard-fought qualification to the final in Paris. The French karateka who claimed silver last year reached the last match of the tournament for the second consecutive time after producing an impressive demonstration of offensive Karate in the semi-final against team-mate Laura Sivert. Despite going down in the scoreboard for most of the bout, the current Grand Winner connected two impressive “Ippon” to finish the bout 10-5 and win the ticket to the final. 

On the other side of the tatami, her rival will be Giana Lotfy of Egypt. The two-time World champion had taken the bronze medal at the 2018 World Championships as best result in two years. After missing the podium of Karate 1-Premier League in all her appearances since her victory in Hamburg in 2016, the Egyptian karateka bounced back to reach the podium in the first event of the new season. 

AYUMI UEKUSA ON GRAND WINNER MODE

Japan’s Ayumi Uekusa also came back after the disappointment of losing two finals in the World Championships in Madrid, and went back to winning mode in Paris. The current Grand Winner, who has claimed the “Best of the Best” award two years in a row, dominated the pool and then defeated Hamideh Abbasali of Iran by 3-0 in semi-finals to reach her eighth medal in her last ten international appearances. 

The final of Female Kumite +68kg will be another highlight of the last day since the current Grand Winner will meet local karateka Nancy Garcia. The French competitor completed the impressive presentation of representatives of the host country in the tournament and also qualified for the finals. The young local athlete had already reached the final last year when she took silver, and now she hopes to take the French flag to the top of the podium at home. 

UNEXPECTED RESULTS 

Underdogs took the spotlight in Male Kumite -84kg as the category will see how two karatekas who never reached the final of major international events qualified for the last bout of the event. Anton Isakau of Belarus defeated Rikito Shimada of Japan in semi-finals 4-3 and will fight for his first medal in top events since his bronze in the 2017 Karate 1-Premier League Dubai. Meanwhile, Mahdi Ghararizadeh Mahani of Iran qualified for the final after upsetting Grand Winner Ugus Aktas of Turkey in semi-finals 3-2. 

Meanwhile, in Female Kumite -68kg European champion Elena Quirici of Switzerland started the season on top form. Quirici took two medals in Karate 1-Premier League last year and this time, the promising karateka extended her medal count following her 1-0 victory over Egypt’s Feryal Abdelaziz in semi-finals. 

Kayo Someya of Japan will also fight for gold in this category. Someya who had taken silver last year in Paris got a convincing victory over Sachiko Paulina Ramos Akita of Mexico 5-0, and achieved the ticket to the final.  

Favourites were also taken by surprise in Male Kumite +84kg as Gogita Arkania of Georgia and Saleh Abazeri of Iran made it to the final. Gogita Arkania had two silver medals in Tokyo and Berlin as best results last year and this time he made it to the last bout of the tournament after upsetting Sajad Ganjzadeh of Iran in semi-finals by 4-2. 

On the other side of the pool, Saleh Abazari of Iran aims at increasing the gold medal he got last year in Istanbul. The current continental champion of the category beat Belarus’ Aliaksei Vodchyts 5-0 and qualified for the final.  

The event will conclude on Sunday with the medal bouts and the Grand Winners ceremony. The clash for the medals and the crowning of the “Best of the Best” will be streamed LIVE on karateworld.tv 

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