Grand Winners lead way to medals in day 1 of Karate 1-Premier League Dubai
Grand Winners were the big winners of the opening day of Karate 1-Premier League Dubai. Serap Ozcelik Arapoglu, Sandra Sanchez, Steven Dacosta, Rafael Aghayev, Anzhelika Terliuga, and Darkhan Assadilov are the Grand Winners succeeding today. The second stop of Karate’s biggest international event started at Al Wasl Club sports hall with the best karatekas in the world clashing for the medals and for the points in the Olympic standings.
Grand Winners were the big winners of the opening day of Karate 1-Premier League Dubai. Serap Ozcelik Arapoglu, Sandra Sanchez, Steven Dacosta, Rafael Aghayev, Anzhelika Terliuga and Darkhan Assadilov are the Grand Winners suceeding today. The second stop of Karate’s biggest international event started at Al Wasl Club sports hall with the best karatekas in the world clashing for the medals and for the points in the Olympic standings.
SURPRISES IN FEMALE KATA
The event started with surprising results in Female Kata. Sakura Kokumai of the USA produced one of the big upsets of the day as the number six-ranked athlete in WKF ranking made it to the finals of the category. The current winner of the Pan American Games reached her first-ever final in Karate 1-Premier League after topping the pool with “Papuren” kata and a score of 25.42. Kokumai will clash for gold against Sandra Sanchez of Spain. The current Grand Winner and World champion confirmed the predictions at aims at her second title this year. The World ranking leader from Spain headed the pool with “Papuren” kata and a score of 27.94.
CLASH OF TITANS IN MALE KUMITE -60KG
The title-deciding bout in Male Kumite -60kg will be a real clash of titans. Two of the top front-runners of the category will fight for gold here in Dubai after an impressive demonstration of abilities over the tatami. World title-holder Angelo Crescenzo of Italy aims at his first gold medal since taking the title at the World Championships two years ago. The Italian karateka defeated Orges Arifi of Albania (5-0) to qualify for the final.
The other spot in the final is taken by Grand Winner Darkhan Assadilov of Kazakhstan. The current owner of the “Best of the Best” award who is also the world ranking leader beat Christos-Stefanos Xenos of Greece in semi-finals (4-2).
SERAP OZCELIK ARAPOGLU DOES IT AGAIN
Demonstrating fantastic form, Serap Ozcelik Arapoglu of Turkey qualified for her third consecutive final this year. The current Grand Winner and WKF World ranking leader claimed a convincing 6-1 victory over Bettina Plank of Austria in semi-finals and reaches her second final in two Karate 1-Premier League this season.
“I am very happy that I am in one more final. It is my second final this year. I want to win all the titles and be Grand Winner again,” said Ozcelik Arapoglu.
The big favourite of Female Kumite -50kg category meets newcomer Nadia Gomez Morales of Spain. The Spanish karateka surprised front-runners and reaches her first-ever final in senior competitions. Gomez Morales - who was the 2017 World U21 Champion - defeated Aicha Sayah of Morocco in semi-finals (5-2).
STEVEN DACOSTA CONTINUES WINNING STREAK
Following the host of Grand Winners on top form today, Steven Dacosta of France confirmed his outstanding level with his second final in two events this year. The current Grand Winner and World champion edged Burak Uygur of Turkey by “Hantei” or decision in semi-finals (0-0).
The final bout in Male Kumite -67kg will be a repetition of the title-deciding clash of the last World Championships since World title-holder Dacosta is meeting World Championships runner-up Vinicius Figueira of Brazil. The Brazilian karateka who is placed third in WKF World ranking defeated Supa Ngamphuengphit of Thailand 4-0 and qualified for his first final of Karate 1-Premier League since taking silver at the 2018 Karate 1-Premier League Berlin.
“For me, it will be another fight, another final. Vinicius (Figueira) is a great competitor and I will have to be at my best to win gold,” said Steven Dacosta.
ANZHELIKA TERLIUGA USES GRAND WINNER STATUS TO REACH FINAL
The defending Grand Winner also shined in Female Kumite -55kg. Anzhelika Terliuga of Ukraine reached the final in Dubai after beating Turkey’s Tuba Yakan in semi-finals 2-0 thus demonstrating excellent form in the first stages of the season.
“I am very, very happy. I keep feeling better and better. These past years have been very difficult for me with training, a lot of competitions… I don’t know how I am doing it (to succeed) but I feel that a special power must be helping me. I enjoy this competition, every match is important and I learn from each bout,” said Terliuga.
Her rival in the final is Yasmin Attia of Egypt. The Egyptian karateka who just claimed bronze at the continental championships last week beat Jana Messerschmidt of Germany in semi-finals 2-0.
ONE MORE FINAL FOR RAFAEL AGHAYEV
Rafael Aghayev of Azerbaijan took the spotlight today with a forceful performance in Dubai. The current Grand Winner of Male Kumite -75kg made it to his first final this season and confirmed that he remains on top form. The five-time World champion from Azerbaijan beat current World title-holder Bahman Ghoncheh Asgari of Iran 3-0 in a tight semi-final.
The other spot in the final is taken by Luigi Busa of Italy. The defending European champion defeated Yermek Ainazarov of Kazakhstan in semi-finals 3-1 and qualifies for his first final of Karate 1-Premier League since his silver medal here in Dubai last year.
The competition continues on Saturday with the rest of the categories at stake. CLICK HERE to go to all the information on the Karate 1-Premier League Dubai including results and competition draws.