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Karate powerhouses aiming for European domination at #EuroKarate2018

2018-04-30

The 2018 Karate Senior European Championships starts in ten days, and the powerhouses of the sport in Europe are looking to capitalise on their fantastic results at previous editions so to continue their domination of European Karate.

Novi Sad in Serbia hosts the 53rd edition of the Karate Senior European Championships from May 10 to 13. The best karatekas of the continent will gather in a competition traditionally open to surprises. In the last years, the big winners were the representatives from Turkey, France, Spain and Italy. We review the last editions of the thrilling event.  

TURKISH KARATEKAS PREVAILED AT HOME

2017 was the year of Turkish Karate. The representatives of the Eastern European country produced an outstanding result at home at the event which was held in Kocaeli. In front of family and friends, the Turkish karatekas took good use of the home-ground factor to top the medal table with 14 awards and four golds. 

Among the local heroes, Tuba Yakan surprised and took the Turkish flag to the top of the podium in Female Kumite -55kg. The local athlete edged Karate Star Sara Cardin (1-0) to open the gold medal count for the host country. Burak Uygur followed suit and prevailed in Male Kumite -67kg while Ugur Aktas delighted the home crowd with his title in Male Kumite -84kg. 

The Turkish celebration was completed when the male kumite team was proclaimed European champion. Headed by local hero Enes Erkan, the local representatives wrapped-up an outstanding competition with their forceful victory over France in the final. 

The other big names of the tournament were Alisa Buchinger of Austria with her back-to-back World and European titles; Damian Quintero and Sandra Sanchez who extended Spain’s domination in kata categories, and Ukrainian representatives, who showcased the great progression of karate in the country with six medals and two golds.

SENSATIONAL EVENT IN FRANCE

In 2016 the European Championships travelled to Montpellier (France). The event was a fantastic demonstration of the impact of Karate in the European nation with a memorable and spectacular sporting competition. The host country dominated the tournament with 11 medals and a whopping count of six golds. 

Alexandra Recchia was proclaimed the true queen of the tournament. The Karate Star won the title of Female Kumite -50kg in a memorable final against long-time friend Serap Ozcelik, and also helped the local delegation to get bronze in Female Team Kumite. 

The prevalence of French karatekas was especially remarkable in female kumite categories since the host athletes took three of the six gold medals at stake. In addition to Alexandra Recchia’s triumph, Lucie Ignace in Female Kumite -61kg and Anne-Laure Florentin in Female Kumite +68kg contributed to the local celebration in Montpellier. Steven Dacosta in Male Kumite -67kg and the Male Team Kumite completed the gold medal count for the hosts. 

The spotlight of the tournament was also taken by some of the most-followed karatekas who dazzled with victories in Montpellier. Superstar Rafael Aghayev of Azerbaijan claimed his sensational 10th gold medal in European Championships after his impressive 6-0 triumph in the final over local karateka Logan Da Costa. Spanish representatives also succeeded, especially in kata categories, since the karatekas of the Iberian nation won three of the four gold medals at stake, led by Sandra Sanchez and Damian Quintero. Sara Cardin of Italy with her victory in Female Kumite -55kg was other of the successful competitors in Montpellier. 

SPANISH DEMONSTRATION IN ISTANBUL 

The 2015 edition of the European Championships was dominated by the Spanish representatives. The Spaniards wrapped-up a sensational event with nine medals and three golds. Hosts of Turkey with 11 medals and France with 9 medals also succeeded at the event which was held in Istanbul (Turkey). 

The path of Spain to the top of the medal table was achieved by the remarkable performance of Spaniards in Kata categories. Sandra Sanchez and Damian Quintero both dominated the individual competition while the male kata squad headed by Quintero prevailed in the team competition. 

In Female kumite categories, Austrian and French karatekas took the star status in Istanbul since Bettina Plank and Alisa Buchinger in -50kg and -68kg claimed gold for the central European country while Emilie Thouy in Female Kumite -55kg and Lucie Ignace in -61kg both managed to make ‘The Marseillaise’ sound at the event. In Male competition, Rafael Aghayev continued shining at European stage taking the title over Germany’s Noah Bitsch. In Male Kumite +84kg, the crown went to Serbia’s Slobodan Bitevic who will have the opportunity to fight for his second title next week at home in Novi Sad.

ITALY DOMINATE EVENT IN TAMPERE

The 2014 European Championships was held in Tampere (Finland) and ended with Italy topping the medal table (Seven medals and four golds). It was the moment to shine for the biggest heroes of the European powerhouse nation. The Italian fan favourites took a step forward in Tampere and helped the ‘Azzurri’ representatives to showcase great level in both kata and kumite. 

The two individual kata competitions finished with the Italian flag on top since Viviana Bottaro and Mattia Busato were crowned as continental champions. Sara Cardin in Female Kumite -55kg was also one of the stars of the event with her victory over Luxembourg’s Jennifer Warling. Meanwhile, Luigi Busa put a momentary halt to Rafael Aghayev’s dominance in Male Kumite -75kg with a hard-fought performance in Tampere. 

In the rest of the categories, the Turkish representatives also took the spotlight, since Serap Ozcelik in Female Kumite -50kg and Enes Erkan in Male Kumite +84kg became European champions. 

The 53rd edition of the European Championships will be held in Novi Sad (Serbia) from May 10-13. The finals and bronze medal bouts will be streamed live and free on karateworld.tv. 


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