Japan's promising athletes prevail at AKF Cadet, Junior & U21 Championships
The city of Almaty in Kazakhstan hosted the 2023 AKF Cadet, Junior & U21 Championships from November 6 to 8. Powerhouse nation of Japan topped the final medal table of the event after claiming 23 medals including 14 golds. Hosts of Kazakhstan and Iran also completed successful performances.
Over 400 athletes from 25 countries travelled to Kazakhstan to participate in the event. In cadet categories, no less than seven countries bagged gold medals, a testament to the popularity of the sport on the continent. Powerhouse countries of Japan, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan led the way to gold in the category with two top titles each.
The delegation of Japan showed its prevalence in Junior categories, since the representatives of the birth nation of the sport claimed no less than five gold medals. Karatekas from Iran also demonstrated strength in the junior divisions after winning three gold medals.
Meanwhile, in the U21 categories, Japan also took convincing triumphs, with six karatekas from the birth nation of the sport reaching the top of the podium, including up-and-coming stars Sakichi Abe in U21 Male Kata, Sara Terazawa in U21 Female Kumite -68kg, and Aoba Furukawa in U21 Female Kata.
Hosts of Kazakhstan also celebrated gold medals in U21 categories, with Bella Samasheva and Zholaman Bigabyl among the gold medallists.
(Pictures: Phonthawat Warasutthiphan / AKF)