French karatekas take stand in #Karate1Matosinhos
French karatekas dominated the eliminations of the 2023 Karate 1-Series event being held in Matosinhos (Portugal). The powerhouse nation of the sport will try to win gold in five finals of the massive event. The final day of action in Matosinhos will be available LIVE on the WKF YouTube channel.
Hosts of Portugal will be cheering for Joaquim Mendes in Male Kumite -67kg. The local karateka qualified for the final after beating Muhammed Oezdemir of Germany and will try to take the flag of the organising nation to the top of the podium in the clash against Younesse Salmi of France who upset Turkiye’s Omer Abdurrahim Ozer 3-2.
The final of Female Kumite -50kg will also have a representative of France as Sophia Bouderbane will be meeting Natalia Vargova of Slovakia for gold. Bouderbane, who was the 2019 European champion of the category defeated Spain’s Eva Rodriguez in the semifinals 6-4. Vargova reached her first international final after edging Japan’s Rinka Tahata.
The clash France vs Slovakia will also be repeated in Female Kumite -68kg. France’s Thalya Sombe will meet Slovakia’s Sara Kridova in the final. The French karateka defeated Greece's Konstantina-Evangelina Peppa 2-0 and Kridova upset Iran’s Mobina Kavyanicherati 6-5.
The fourth final for France came in Male Kumite -75kg. Enzo Berthon used his favourite status to defeat Spain’s Joan Just in the semifinals 3-3 to make it to the final where he will fight against Ukraine’s Heorhii Pitsul who beat Ryan Gari also from France (1-0).
France’s fantastic performance continued in Male Kumite -84kg. Adrien Marques will also try to win gold for the European powerhouse nation as he reached the final following a 5-0 victory over Portugal’s Jose Miranda. His rival is Hasan Arslan of Turkiye who beat Ukraine’s Valerii Sonnykh in the semifinals 4-2.
Japan showcased their prevalence in Kata as the representatives of the birth nation of the sport took three out of the four final spots in Individual Kata. The final of Female Kata will be an All-Japan affair as Mishima Kiri and Utsonomiya Reina made it to the title-deciding clash of the category. Kiri topped the last pool with a score of 43.1 while Reina dominated the last pool with a score of 42.4.
The Japanese delegation will also opt for the title in Male Kata since Yuki Sato qualified for his first international final. The Japanese karateka dominated the pool with a score of 42.2. The other side of the tatami will be taken by Rey Chinen of the United States. The winner of the 2023 Karate 1-Series A Richmond-Vancouver dominated the last pool with a score of 42.1.
Promising karatekas will clash for the title in Female Kumite -55kg. U21 continental bronze medallist Mia Bitsch of Germany aims to win her second title in Karate 1-Series after her triumph in Pamplona in 2022 following a 3-1 triumph over Portugal’s Constanca Matos. Her rival in the final is Venla Karttunen of Finland who made it to her first international final after edging Sonia Pereira of Spain 1-0.
Germany was also represented in the final of Female Kumite +68kg. Amelie Luecke beat Yuliia Rusu of Ukraine 4-0 to fight for the gold against Turkiye’s Zeyna Gaballa who defeated Spain’s Laura Moreno 3-1.
Neighbour country of Spain celebrated one final spot since Indira del Mar Zuniga qualified for the last bout in Female Kumite -61kg. A first-time finalist, the Spaniard defeated Switzerland’s Oksana Duperrex in the semifinals 7-2. The other final spot was claimed by Ashley Kakiay of the Netherlands as she beat Viktorija Jovanovska of North Macedonia 1-0.
The title of Male Kumite -60kg will go to either the Czech Republic or Georgia. Martin Drabek of the Czech Republic reached the final following a 7-3 triumph over Turkiye’s Mert Halici as Georgia’s David Tkebuchava prevailed over Japan’s Yoshihito Yatoji 5-4.
The final of Male Kumite +84kg will be an All-Iran affair since two athletes from the Asian country will fight for gold. Olympic gold medallist Sajad Ganzjadeh beat Germany’s Nikolai Sekot in the semifinals 9-1 while teammate Saleh Abazari beat Kazakhstan’s Dias Anarbekov 6-1.
The bouts Spain vs Portugal and Japan vs Italy in Female and Male Team Kata completed the list of finals of #Karate1Matosinhos.
The final day of action from Matosinhos will be available LIVE on the WKF YouTube Channel
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(Picture: Portuguese Karate Federation)