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Karate stars on course for gold medals at Karate 1-Premier League Moscow


The sixth stop of the Karate 1-Premier League season begun today in Moscow (Russia). The opening day of action featured some of the best karatekas in the world making their way to the finals of the competition. Grand Winners Sandra Sanchez, Eray Samdan, Steven Dacosta and Rafael Aghayev, and Kiyou Shimizu, and Anzhelika Terliuga were among the big names of the day.  


The two most dominating competitors of the international stage nowadays are clashing in yet another episode of their thrilling rivalry. Kiyou Shimizu of Japan and Sandra Sanchez of Spain will fight for gold in the final of Female Kata. It will be a re-edition of the last five title-deciding bouts of Karate 1-Premier League this season and a repetition of the spectacular final of the Karate 1-Premier League Tokyo, which was solved in a heart-wrenching tie-breaker. Shimizu topped the pool with “Chibana no Kushanku” kata and a score of 25.62 while Sanchez dominated the final pool with “Papuren” kata and a score of 26.8. 

Sandra Sanchez said: “I am really pleased about being in the final again, especially after Tokyo which had such a great final match. After losing the final in Tokyo, I want to win here in Moscow, so I can reach the last event of the season in Madrid with options to be Grand Winner again”. 


Nearly seven months after his last appearance in a final of a major international event, Steven Dacosta of France recovered his winning streak with a powerful demonstration in Moscow. The current world champion and defending Grand Winner qualified for the final of Male Kumite -67kg after edging Davit Pataridze of Georgia by “Hantei” or decision 0-0. The French mighty competitor will try to win his fourth gold medal this year against Aly Elsawy of Egypt. The Egyptian karateka beat Masamichi Funahashi of Japan by 3-1. It will be his second Karate 1-Premier League final of the season after his title in Karate 1-Premier League Rabat. 


After winning four of the five Karate 1-Premier League events this year, Anzhelika Terliuga of Ukraine took a definitive step forward re-taking the Grand Winner award in Moscow. One of the most successful competitors this season, the Ukrainian athlete beat Iran’s Taravat Khaksar by a slim 1-0 in semi-finals. Her rival in the final will be Japan’s Sara Yamada who defeated Tzu-Yun Wen of Chinese Taipei by 3-1 in semi-finals. It will be the first final ever in major international events for the young Japanese competitor. 

Anzhelika Terliuga said: “I have been very tired this month since this is the third big event I compete in. I am feeling how hard it is to reach the finals and how hard it is to win the points for the Olympic qualification. But I feel that I am going up again and I am optimistic about my prospects”. 


With five world titles and five medals this year under his belt, Rafael Aghayev of Azerbaijan continued demonstrating excellent form after qualifying for the final of Male Kumite -75kg. The legendary karateka reached one more final in his prolific career following a 2-0 victory in semi-finals over world champion Bahman Ghoncheh Asgari of Iran. His rival in the final is Yermek Ainazarov of Kazakhstan who surprised favourites with his qualification to the final. The Kazakh karateka upset Luigi Busa of Italy 1-1 and made it to his first final since his title at the 2015 continental championships. 

Rafael Aghayev said: “This year I have been in four finals but I have been unable to win gold. A gold medal is obviously important, but I believe that the Olympic qualification is even more important than that. When you are on top as long as I have, you realise how hard it is to continue reaching finals. This is why I am very pleased that I can be in the final again. I felt very tired lately but I will continue working hard to achieve my goals.” 

In Male Kumite -60kg, the quest to become the new Grand Winner intensifies. The current owner of the “Best of the Best” award Eray Samdan of Turkey made it to his second final of Karate 1-Premier League this year following a victory by “Hantei” or decision over Darkhan Assadilov of Kazakhstan (0-0). The other spot in the final is for Emil Pavlov of North Macedonia who upset World champion Angelo Crescenzo of Italy by a slim 1-0. It will be the first final for Pavlov in over a year after taking silver at the 2018 Karate 1-Premier League Dubai.  

Shara Hubrich of Germany versus Sara Bahmanyar of Iran in Female Kumite -50kg and Turkey against Italy in Male Team Kata completed the list of finalists in day 1 of #Karate1Moscow. The competition continues on Saturday with the rest of the categories at stake.  

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