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Karate stars aim for the double European Games crown in Minsk

2019-06-18

The Karate competition of the 2nd European Games starts in less than two weeks. As the anticipated event reaches the -10 days count, the European Karate stars set their eyes in making history for the sport in Minsk (Belarus) from June 29 to 30. The attention of fans will be focused on six top athletes who hope to win the titles in the two editions of the European Games. 

The discipline will be represented in Minsk (Belarus) by 96 competitors who will clash for gold in the 12 categories at stake. No less than 28 of the 96 participants will experience the thrill of being part of the multi-sport event for the second time. Only six of them will defend their European Games titles in Minsk. 

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The kata competition in Baku was dominated by the Spanish representatives since the two gold medals went for athletes of the Iberian country. Damian Quintero prevailed in Male Kata after defeating Mattia Busato of Italy by unanimous decision in the final. The current European Champion from Spain is one of the front-runners of the event in Minsk. 

“The European Games is a really nice event. I remember it very fondly. Four years ago, I won the gold medal there and it was the first title of the Spanish team in all the sports, so I am very happy that I qualified and that I can participate in the event again,” said Damian Quintero. 

The crown in Female Kata was for Sandra Sanchez also from Spain. The Spanish Kata queen beat Sandy Scordo of France by unanimous decision in Baku for years ago and now, as the current World and European title-holder and WKF World ranking leader, Sanchez hopes to extend her impressive tally of awards. 

Also with a remarkable number of titles under his belt, Rafael Aghayev of Azerbaijan aims at increasing his record-breaking count of distinctions. The five-time World champion was proclaimed winner of the European Games four years ago when he edged Luigi Busa of Italy in the final of Male Kumite -75kg (1-0). 

Two Turkish competitors hope to take the spotlight in Minsk thus maintaining the title of the event. Burak Uygur surprised in Baku four years ago with his gold medal in Male Kumite -67kg. The Turkish competitor upset Steven Dacosta of France in the final and opened the medal-count for the successful Turkish delegation there. Serap Ozcelik followed, and she also claimed the crown in Female Kumite -50kg. The mighty Turkish karateka defeated Bettina Plank of Austria in the final 1-0. 

The list of gold medallists in Baku who will defend title in Minsk is completed by Irina Zaretska of Azerbaijan. The current World champion succeeded in Baku with her outstanding 8-1 triumph over Alisa Buchinger of Austria in the final of Female Kumite -68kg. 

Representatives of Azerbaijan prevailed in Baku four years ago with four gold medals, followed by Turkish karatekas with three golds and Spanish and French representative with two titles respectively. 

The Karate competition in Minsk will be held from June 29 to 30. The gold medal bouts are scheduled for June 29 from 17:25 to 18:46 (local times) and on June 30 from 16:37 to 17:53. 

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