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Grand Winner Sandra Sanchez and promising karatekas enjoy strong start to Karate 1-Premier League Rotterdam


Karate heroes produced a remarkable performance on the opening day of the Karate 1-Premier League Rotterdam. Spain’s Sandra Sanchez, Japanese representatives and Turkish karatekas were among the outstanding victors on the first day of Karate action at the Topsportcenter sports hall in Rotterdam.

Grand Winner Sandra Sanchez of Spain continued in a winning mode and reached her second final this year. The winner of the Karate 1-Premier League Dubai qualified to the last bout of the Female Kata competition after prevailing in the pool and edging Japan’s Hikaru Ono (3-2) in the semi-final. The WKF World Ranking leader will extend her outstanding record of 26 consecutive medals in international competitions with a new award in Rotterdam while the Spanish Kata ace aims at winning her 10th gold in Karate 1-Premier League. 

“I hope that the streak continues! Most of the times I am not really aware of how many medals I have won, and when people tell me about this, I am like ‘whoa, really?’”, said Sandra Sanchez about her impressive tally of awards. “This is the consequence of our hard work. We never give up. We go every day to train as if we had never won anything and we face competitions with the same hopes and with the same excitement as the first time,” added the European champion. 

Japan will try to continue the domination of the Asian country in the category of choreographed movements, as Emiri Iwamoto will try to defeat Grand Winner Sandra Sanchez in the final of Female Kata. Emiri Iwamoto - who took a silver medal in Karate 1-Premier League Paris - narrowly beat Mo Sheung Grace Lau of Hong Kong in semi-finals (3-2). The current continental champion from Japan hopes to get her first gold in Karate 1-Premier League since her victory in the event of Halle/Leipzig last year.  

“I was very nervous, especially in the bout against Mo Sheung Grace Lau but now I am on the final and I just have to focus on that,” said Iwamoto who won gold in Rotterdam two years ago. “I like competing here very much. I have very good memories from my victory two years ago, so I hope to win here again!”, added the 29-year-old karateka. 

The Japanese delegation also celebrated Ayaka Tadano’s qualification to the final of Female Kumite -50kg. The current Asian champion surprised Grand Winner Serap Ozcelik in semifinals (1-0) to be in her first final since the 2017 Karate 1-Premier League Paris. In the quest for gold, the Karate 1-Series A Guadalajara bronze medallist will clash against Srunita Sari Sukantel of Indonesia. The 25-year-old karateka from Indonesia will compete in her first final in over five years after taking silver in the 2013 Karate 1-Premier League Jakarta. 

“I am very much looking forward to the final. I hope I can show my experience and give my best level to win the gold medal,” said Tadano. 

Ken Nishimura wrapped up the successful day for the Japanese representatives as the promising karateka produced one of the biggest shocks of the day. After beating superstar Rafael Aghayev in the final of Karate 1-Premier League Paris this year, the 22-year-old karateka did it again and upset the five-time World champion in the pool round. The Karate 1-Premier League Paris gold medallist from Japan ended up reaching the final following his victory over Croatia’s Enes Garibovic in semi-finals (1-0). 

His rival in the title-deciding match will be Bahman Asgari Ghoncheh of Iran who also surprised with this convincing triumph over Grand Winner Stanislav Horuna of Ukraine in semi-finals (5-0).   


The Male Kumite -60kg category will see an all-Turkey final as two of the most promising karatekas of the Eastern European country will clash for gold on Sunday. Young sensation Eray Samdan continues surprising, and after dominating the Karate 1-Premier League Dubai, the 20-year-old karateka will fight for his second consecutive gold medal this season in Karate’s first-class series of events. 

The spot on the other side of the tatami will be taken by team-mate Aykut Kaya. The 27-year-old karateka upset Firdovsi Farzaliyev of Azerbaijan (2-1) to make it to his first final of Karate 1-Premier League in over a year. The 2017 Karate 1-Premier League Dubai silver medallist won gold for the last time in 2015 when the Turkish karateka prevailed in the event in Sharm El Sheikh.  

Turkish successful day was completed with two more spots on the finals. Burak Uygur qualified to the final of Male Kumite -67kg while Tuba Yakan made it to the last bout of Female Kumite -55kg. The silver medallist in Karate 1-Premier League Dubai Burak Uygur defeated Vinicius Figueira of Brazil to make it to his second final this year. The quest for gold in the category also sees Stefan Pokorny of Austria in the final. The 25-year-old karateka convincingly beat Assylbek Muratov of Kazakhstan (4-0) to reach his second final on Dutch soil after his silver in the 2014 Karate 1-Premier League Almere. 

Meanwhile, Tuba Yakan will increase the tally of awards of the Turkish delegation with her ticket to the title-deciding bout of the Female Kumite -55kg. The 27-year-old karateka surprised Grand Winner Anzhelika Terliugha in semi-finals (1-0) so to make it to her second final this year after claiming gold in Karate 1-Series A Guadalajara. Chinese Taipei’s Tzu Yun Wen surprised world champion Emilie Thouy of France (4-1) to reach her first final this year. The current Asian champion demonstrated top form so to clash against Yakan in the last day of competition. 

The best karate will continue on day 2 of the Karate 1-Premier League Rotterdam. The final day of action of the Karate 1-Premier League Rotterdam will be broadcast to a worldwide viewing audience on many TV Networks around the world and on KARATEWORLD.TV

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