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Iran top medal table at thrilling AKF Championships


The new kings and queens of Asian karate were crowned this weekend at the thrilling AKF Championships being held in Astana (Kazakhstan). Plenty memorable moments and first-class Kata and Kumite action marked the event that also presented the new stars of the sport in the continent. 

Iran confirmed the strength of Karate in the country as the Iranian delegation topped the medal table of the competition. Headed by world champion Amir Mehdizadeh and by the powerful Male and Female Kumite teams, Iran earned the condition of Asian superpower after finishing the competition in the first position of the final standings. Iranian delegation claimed a tally of 42 medals and 20 golds. Japan with 38 medals and 16 golds and hosts of Kazakhstan with 27 medals and eight golds also registered impressive performances in Astana. 

Iran’s Amir Mehdizadeh took the spotlight and became one of the stars of the event after winning back-to-back world and continental titles. The defending World champion was one of the leaders of Iran’s outstanding quest to gold in Astana after producing an impressive victory in Male Kumite -60kg. Mehdizadeh defeated young rising star Sadriddin Saymatov of Uzbekistan to win the Asian crown. 

Iran stated their Asian powerhouse status with dazzling triumphs in the Team Kumite categories. The Iranian representatives prevailed in both Male and Female Team Kumite competitions thus establishing a surprising domination in Asian Karate in the joined categories. The Iranian Male Kumite Team defeated Saudi Arabia while the Female Team beat Chinese Taipei in the finals. 


While Iran controlled the team kumite categories, Japan showcased their outstanding level in Kata by winning all the senior competitions of the categories of the choreographed movements. Ryo Kiyuna became one of the biggest stars of the events and continued making a new for himself as one of the best Kata karatekas of all times after claiming the Asian title.

The two-time World champion earned his second consecutive continental crown and extended his impressive winning streak in international competitions. The defending world title holder has not lost a bout since his silver medal at the 2013 World Combat Games. Kiyuna will try to increase his four-year long string of victories next week at The World Games. 

The title in Female Kata went to Emiri Iwamoto who won her first gold in major international competition after defeating Indonesia’s Sisilia Afustani Ora. Both the Male and Female Team Kata squads from the birth nation of the sport also prevailed in Astana. The Japanese Male side beat Iran while the Japanese Female team also overcame Iranian delegation in the final. 

The Japanese representatives also saw the flag of the rising sun on top of the podium four more times on the final day of competition. Ayaka Tadano won gold in Female Kumite -50kg, and Kayo Someya prevailed in Female Kumite -68kg while world champion Ayumi Uekusa also claimed world and continental titles with her victory in Female Kumite +68kg. Mayasa Ishizuka in Male Kumite -84kg completed the list of gold medallists for Japan. 


The 2017 AKF Championships also crowned athletes catching the attention of the Karate world with remarkable performances. That is the case of Saudi Arabia’s Tareg Hamedi who became the biggest rising star of today’s Karate after winning gold in the Male Kumite +86kg category. In order to do so, the Saudi young karateka had to defeat World Champion Sajad Ganjzadeh of Iran. In one of the biggest upsets of the competition, Hamedi proved the strength of young Karate and produced a convincing victory 4-0 over the current world title-holder. 

China’s Xiaoyan Yin in Female Kumite -61kg and Chinese Taipei Tzu-Yun Wen in Female Kumite -55kg also took the spotlight in Astana after reaching the top of the podium and claiming the Asian crown. 

CLICK HERE to have access to all the info and results of the 2017 AKF Championships. 

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