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Karate Stars in sensational form on day one of Karate 1-Premier League Tokyo

2019-09-06

Favourites showed excellent form and qualified for the finals of the Karate 1-Premier League Tokyo as action began at Nippon Budokan sports hall in the capital of Japan. The fifth stop of Karate’s biggest international tournaments started in the birthplace of the sport with favourites making it to the final stages of the competition. 

Day 1 of Karate 1-Premier League Tokyo was inaugurated with the Female Kata competition. Showcasing outstanding domination, the two main front-runners of the category confirmed the forecasts and qualified to the final. Kiyou Shimizu of Japan and Sandra Sanchez of Spain will fight for the gold medal in Tokyo in a repetition of the title-deciding bouts of all the four previous Karate 1-Premier League events this season. World title-holder and current Grand Winner Sandra Sanchez prevailed in the pool with “Papuren” kata and a score of 26.54 while World Championships runner-up Kiyou Shimizu topped her pool with “Chibana no Kushanku” kata and a score of 26.68. 

“The first thing that was on my mind when I stepped into the tatami this morning was that we would be competing in the Olympic Games right here next year. I took this event as preparation ahead of the Games, and I wanted to know what I would feel next year. It was a very thrilling moment for me; hopefully, I will be able to experience it again next year and who knows? maybe I will get the same result!”, said Sandra Sanchez. 

“Nippon Budokan is the ‘mecca’ of martial arts and for me, this is the first place I wanted to compete in. I am happy to be here, and as Japanese, it is my goal to show the best possible technique and to give my best athletic performance here,” declared Kiyou Shimizu. 

THREE FINALS FOR JAPAN 

In Male Kumite -67kg, Burak Uygur of Turkey defended his Grand Winner status and earned a hard-fought qualification to the final following a slim victory 1-1 over Japan’s Soichiro Nakano in semi-finals. The other final spot in the category was taken by Japan’s Hiroto Gomyo. After Kiyou Shimizu’s ticket for the last day of competition, Gomyo’s success was the second final for the host country today. The Japanese karateka who currently takes the position 15th in WKF World ranking defeated Dionysios Xenos of Greece in semi-finals 5-1. 

The third spot for Japan in the finals was claimed by Ken Nishimura. The Japanese karateka is fast becoming the new Kumite hero in his country, and he will try to take the flag of the host country to the top of the podium in Male Kumite -75kg. The World ranking leader from Japan earned his qualification to the final after edging world champion Bahman Ghoncheh Asgari of Iran by “Hantei” or decision (0-0). In his quest to gold, Nishimura will meet the current Grand Winner and renowned karateka Rafael Aghayev of Azerbaijan. The multi-awarded karateka from Azerbaijan upset Stanislav Horuna of Ukraine in a tight semi-final bout in which Aghayev avenged the defeat he suffered from Horuna in the final of the European Games. 

“It is very special to compete at home. I just want to participate and do my best. If I win gold, it will be very good for me because it will give me a sense of what I may feel next year during the Olympic Games,” said Ken Nishimura. 

FAVOURITES TAKE A STAND IN TOKYO 

Front-runners took the spotlight as they prevailed in the categories at stake today. That was the case in Male Kumite +60kg. World champion Angelo Crescenzo of Italy qualified for his third final of the season after beating Grand Winner Eray Samdan of Turkey in semi-finals (2-0). The World ranking leader from Italy aims at winning his first gold medal this year in the final bout against Darkhan Assadilov of Kazakhstan. The Kazak athlete is one of the competitors on top form this season since the second-placed athlete in WKF World ranking has claimed five gold medals in eight appearances this year. In semi-finals, Assadilov produced an impressive 6-0 victory over Iran’s Majid Hassanniaidelami. 

After taking two gold medals in Karate 1-Premier League this season, Ukraine’s Anzhelika Terliuga stated her status of favourite in the category with her ticket to the final today. The WKF World ranking leader edged Luxembourg’s Jennifer Warling by “Hantei” or decision in semi-finals (0-0). In one of the highlights of the final day, Terliuga will clash for the title against second-placed in the ranking Wen Tzu-Yun of Chinese Taipei. The gold medallist of 2019 Karate 1-Premier League Dubai Wen beat Carlota Fernandez Osorio of Spain in semi-finals 2-1. 

ALEXANDRA RECCHIA PRODUCES IMPRESSIVE COME-BACK

France’s Alexandra Recchia became one of the biggest names of the event after reaching the final of Female Kumite -50kg. Following an impressive recovery from an injury, the former World champion who won silver in Karate 1-Premier League Shanghai made it to her second final this year in a sensational come-back. Recchia qualified for the title-deciding bout in spectacular fashion, after winning the semi-final against Chinese Taipei’s Shiau-Shuang Gu by 9-1. Her rival in the final is Iran’s Sara Bahmanyar who beat Chinese Taipei’s Tsui-Ping Ku 5-0 in semi-finals. It is the second final for Bahmanyar this year after her silver at Karate 1-Series A Salzburg.  

Action will continue on Saturday with the rest of the categories at stake. The medal bouts are scheduled for Sunday and will be streamed LIVE on karateworld.tv. 

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