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New European Karate kings and queens crowned on historic third day of #EuroKarate2018


Karatekas from Spain, France and Turkey produced dominant performances at the 2018 Karate European Championships as the new continental champions were crowned today in Novi Sad (Serbia). Sandra Sanchez, Damian Quintero, Anne Laure Florentin, Lucie Ignace, Serap Ozcelik, and Rafael Aghayev were among the heroes of the sport making history today in European Karate. 

Spain extended tjeir domination of the Kata categories and won both gold medals in the individual competition. Sandra Sanchez claimed her fourth consecutive European title in Female Kata in another demonstration of kata perfection. The WKF World Ranking leader excelled in her performance of ‘Papuren’ kata and defeated Viviana Bottaro of Italy by unanimous decision (5-0). The 36-years-old karateka has won the last four European Championships and has always reached the podium of in all her international appearances since 2015. 

“I still cannot believe it! It is really imposing to go up there on the tatami, knowing that so many people are looking at you. I am between happy and still nervous!” said Sanchez. “I do not pay attention to the medals that I have won but to the ones still left to come. Now that the start of the Olympic qualification is fast approaching, I just look ahead at the goals that I still want to achieve, like the World Championships in Madrid or the next European Championships in Guadalajara”, added the Spanish kata queen. 

Team-mate Damian Quintero followed the lead and took the second gold medal for Spain in kata. The current World Championships silver medallist outclassed Turkey’s Ali Sofuoglu with his performance of ‘Suparinpei’ kata and won the final bout by 4-1. Damian Quintero is on his way to continue making history for the sport since the Spanish Kata ace has taken five golds in individual competition in the last six editions of the tournament to a total of nine gold medals counting the team category. 

“I am super happy! I am very satisfied with being able to give my 100% and to see that all the hard work has paid off. This is a very good achievement with the upcoming World Championships in Madrid in mind,” declared Damian Quintero. “I suppose that once I retire, I will realize all the success that I am getting. For now, I just want to focus on my next goals,” he added. 


In a record-breaking performance, Rafael Aghayev of Azerbaijan was proclaimed European champion for the 11th time thus becoming the most-awarded European karateka of all times. The superstar from Azerbaijan defeated Gabor Haspataki of Hungary by a slim 2-1 to get a whopping 11th continental title. The popular 2nd-dan karateka from Azerbaijan re-claimed the crown of Male Kumite -75kg that he won for the last time in 2016. 


With medals in all the European Championships since 2010, Turkey’s Serap Ozcelik demonstrated to be a leading force in the Female Kumite -50kg category. In the final today against Austria’s Bettina Plank, the 30-year-old karateka won the bout by ‘Hantei’ or ‘winner by decision’ as the match ended in a tie 1-1. The award today represents Grand Winner Ozcelik’s fourth continental crown. 

“I am so happy! It is my fourth European title and I am glad that I had the chance to be in another final. I am especially pleased because I have been training very hard. I hope that the success continues in the World Championships in Madrid!” said Ozcelik. 

Turkey got one more gold today, this time by Burak Uygur. Much to the disappointment of the Serbian fans filling up the sports hall in Novi Sad, the Turkish karateka defeated local hopeful Stefan Joksic. Uygur connected two early ‘yukos’ and took advantage in the final. The Serbian karateka came back with two ‘yukos’ so to tie the match 2-2. Uygur ended up getting the gold medal and the title by ‘Senshu’ or ‘first unopposed score advantage’. It is the second consecutive gold medal for Uygur, who had already won the title last year at home in Kocaeli. 


Anne Laure Florentin of France achieved a remarkable success since the 26-year-old karateka won her third consecutive European gold medal. The continental champion in 2015 and 2016 extended her tally of awards with a victory over Eleni Chatziliadou of Greece in the final. Florentin, the second-placed karateka in the WKF World Ranking won the bout 3-0 and confirmed her status of great dominator of the Female Kumite +68kg category. 

France won another gold today through Lucie Ignace, in Female Kumite -61kg. The 25-year-old karateka had taken silver last year and got two gold medals in 2016 and 2015. Now, the athlete from Reunion earned her third continental crown after beating Anita Serogina of Ukraine by 2-1. 


It was a memorable day for Elena Quirici of Switzerland who won no less than two gold medals. In the morning session, and in one of the most gripping bouts of the day, Elena Quirici was proclaimed continental title-holder in Female Kumite -68kg. The 24-year-old karateka defeated Grand Winner Irina Zaretska of Azerbaijan in the final; a bout which was resolved by a late ‘yuko’ by Quirici in the final seconds of the clash.

“I am really happy! All the hard work has got its results and I am just so thrilled that I won gold,” said Quirici. “It will be a very special day for me (with the gold in the Female Team Kumite competition). It is also great for Switzerland. We may be a small country but we showed today that we are also strong,” added the Swiss heroine. 

Later on, Quirici added her second gold to her personal count with the title of Female Team Kumite. The Swiss electric athlete headed the squad completed by Ramona Bruederlin, Noemie Kornfeld, Nina Radjenovic in the quest to the European title. Quirici got the key point of the final match against Italy (2-0) in a sensational performance. 


In Male Kumite +84kg, Ivan Klepic of Bosnia Herzegovina won the continental title after beating Shahin Atamov of Azerbaijan in the final. Klepic scored one ‘yuko’ to take the European crown.

Michele Martina got the European crown in Male Kumite -84kg in a roller-coaster of final bout. The current U21 World champion scored two early ‘yukos’ but found himself behind in the scoreboard after receiving an impressive ‘ippon’ by ‘mawashi-geri’ from Kvesic. However, Martina bounced back and in the last seconds of the bout claimed the final ‘yuko’ to put the clash 3-3. Martina won the match and the European title by ‘Senshu’ or ‘first unopposed score advantage’. 

“It is incredible, I still don’t believe it. Since I won the qualification to the final, I could only think about today. It is being a memorable tournament for us,” said Martina. 

The final of Female Kumite -55kg was a thrilling showdown of spectacular Karate. Croatia’s Alesandra Hasani managed to get an early ‘yuko’, but when the match was about to expire, Grand Winner Anzhelika Terliuga of Ukraine took an outstanding ‘ippon’ by ‘ura-mawashi geri’. The Ukrainian fan favourite won the bout 3-1 and claimed the continental title for the first time after winning bronze in 2016 and silver in 2015. 

Meanwhile, the title in Male Kumite -60kg went to Emil Pavlov of FYR of Macedonia. The 26-year-old karateka defeated Italy’s Angelo Crescenzo by 3-1 and took his second European crown. 


History was being written in Novi Sad, as the first Para-Karate European champions were proclaimed here today. In the inaugural edition of the Para-Karate European Championships, the inspiring Para-Karate athletes presented once again a moving demonstration of courage and determination by overcoming all barriers.

In Female Intellectually Impaired, the first European title went to Andrea Nowak of Germany who defeated Darlene Foster of Wales. In Male Intellectually Impaired category, Jordan Fonteney of France took the European crown after winning the final bout over Janos Csatari of Hungary. In Male Blind/Visually Impaired, Francisco Jose Lozano of Spain became the first European champion following his victory over Tinu Pop Vasile of Romania. In Female Blind/Visually Impaired, the crown was won by Helga Balkie of Germany who defeated  Dragana Ugrenovic of Serbia. The Para-Karate competition will continue on Sunday with the category of Wheelchair user. 

The tournament will conclude on Sunday with the last medals at stake. The bronze medal bouts and the finals will be streamed LIVE and FREE on

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