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Promising karatekas win Youth Olympic qualification in Umag

2018-06-29

Karate’s new Youth Olympic athletes were confirmed today as the first Youth Olympic qualification tournament of the sport opened in Umag (Croatia). Karatekas from four continents showcased the sportsmanship and universality of Karate at young ages qualifying for the Youth Olympic Games in a historic event. 

It is the first time that Karate celebrates an Olympic qualification tournament; the expectations, hopes and dreams of young athletes aiming to win the tickets to the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 took the stage of the memorable event in the first day of action. Two spots per category for Buenos Aires 2018 were defined today with karatekas from ten nations taking the spotlight. 

JAPAN QUALIFY TWO MORE ATHLETES 

The two countries that had qualified more athletes by standing – Japan and Turkey – produced one of the highlights of the day with the semi-final of Male Kumite -68kg featuring Kotaro Nakamura from Japan and Eren Akkut representing Turkey. In a thrilling bout, the victory and the Youth Olympic qualification went to Kotaro Nakamura of Japan, who won by ‘Hantei’ or decision after the clash finished with a tie 2-2.

Japan claimed their fifth Youth Olympic ticket out of a total of six with Keisei Sakiyama’s triumph in Male Kumite +68kg. The Japanese representative defeated Hleb Sachkouski of Belarus by 3-0 in semi-finals thus showing the efficiency and domination of the birth nation of the sport. 

AFTER VICTORY IN UMAG, YOUNG ATHLETES HOPING TO WIN MEDALS IN BUENOS AIRES 

Aika Okazaki of Thailand and Yasmin Nasr Ekgewily of Egypt got the Youth Olympics qualification in Female Kumite -53kg. Thailand’s Aika Okazaki surprised favourite Fatemeh Khonakdartarsi of Iran in semi-finals after scoring two ‘Yukos’ (2-0) to win the Olympic qualification. 

In the other semi-final, Yasmin Nasr Ekgewily of Egypt showed power to defeat Aizere Toktagazy of Kazakhstan by 5-0. The young Egyptian karateka scored two ‘Yukos’ and one ‘Ippon’ to make her Olympic dreams come true. 

POWERHOUSE COUNTRIES SHOW POWER IN UMAG 

In Male Kumite -61kg, the two Youth Olympics spots went to Mohamed Alassiri of Saudi Arabia and Abdallah Hammad of Jordan. The representative of Saudi Arabia earned the qualification after overpowering Ekrem Altuner Yilmaz of Turkey in semi-finals. Mohamed Alassiri took one ‘Wazari’ and one ‘Ippon’ to win the bout 5-0. 

In a surprising outcome of semi-final bout, Abdallah Hammad of Jordan won the ticket to Buenos Aires after winning the match against Russia’s Mikhail Poimtsev. The athlete from Jordan took the bout by ‘Hansoku’ or excessive force of his opponent, even as the Russian karateka was leading by 4-1.

The category of Female Kumite -59kg was highly disputed, with both Olympic spots going to Iran’s Mobina Heydariozomcheloe and Anna Chernysheva of Russia. An impressive ‘Ippon’ by consecutive ‘Mawashi geri’ kicks was all that Iran’s Mobina Heydariozomcheloe needed to win the Olympic qualification. The young Iranian karateka defeated France’s Assia Oukhattou by 4-1 in the bout for the Olympic ticket. 

Russia got their first Youth Olympic qualified athlete with Anna Cherysheva victory over Fatima-Zahra Chajai of Morocco in semi-finals. The Russian young karateka dominated the bout and won by 5-1 after claiming two ‘Yukos’ and one ‘Ippon’. 

Russian karate qualified a second representative for Buenos Aires 2018 following Robert Avakimov’s victory in Male Kumite +68kg. In a tight bout, the Russia representative claimed a late ‘Yuko’ to win the bout over Brandon Edward Carr of Great Britain by 3-2. 

MORE COUNTRIES JOIN LIST OF QUALIFIED ATHLETES

Puerto Rico’s Janessa Michelle Fonseca confirmed her status of top favourite and outclassed Chaimae Zaoujal of France in one of the most one-sided semi-final bouts of the day. The Porto Rican athlete beat her rival by 7-1 (four ‘Yukos’ and one ‘Ippon’) so to win the Olympic ticket in Female Kumite +59kg. 

The other spot in the category went to Annika Saelid of Norway who surprised front-runner Negin Altoon of Iran. The Norwegian karateka won the semi-final bout by ‘Hantei’ or decision to break the 0-0 tie and take the Youth Olympic ticket.   

Meanwhile, in Male Kumite -68kg, Robert Shyroian of Ukraine won the Youth Olympic qualification after overpowering Geerijaieswaran Pillai Sivanesan of Malaysia. The Ukrainian promising karateka scored three ‘Yukos’ and one ‘Ippon’ by ‘Ura-mawashi geri’ kick to finish the semi-final bout by 6-0.

The tournament continues on Saturday with the second phase of the competition. The young athletes in Umag will have another opportunity to win two more spots per category to qualify for Buenos Aires 2018.   

The semi-finals and finals of the final day of Karate action from Umag will be streamed LIVE and FREE on karateworld.tv. 

LIST OF QUALIFIED ATHLETES AND TOURNAMENT WINNERS (in bold)

Junior Female Kumite -53kg: Aika Okazaki (THA) and Yasmin Nasr Elgewily (EGY)
Junior Male Kumite -61kg: Mohammed Alassiri (KSA) and Abdallah Hammad (JOR)
Junior Female Kumite -59kg: Anna Chernysheva (RUS) and Mobina Heydariozomcheloe (IRI)
Junior Male Kumite -68kg: Robert Shyroian (UKR) and Kotaro Nakamura (JPN)
Junior Female Kumite +59kg: Janessa Michelle Fonseca (PUR) and Annika Saelid (NOR)
Junior Kumite Male +68kg: Keisei Sakiyama (JPN) and Robert Avakimov (RUS) 

 

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