World Championships Senior

#KarateWorldChamps: Ryo Kiyuna makes history for Karate


#KarateWorldChamps: Ryo Kiyuna makes history for Karate

Ryo Kiyuna of Japan became the first Male Kata athlete in the history of Karate to win four World titles.

The Japanese Kata icon won the gold medal at the 2021 Karate World Senior Championships today and broke the record of World crowns won at Karate’s biggest event in Male Kata categories.

Ryo Kiyuna said:

“I feel happy for winning this World Championships. For me, it was like if I won my first World Championships.”

Kiyuna defeated Damian Quintero of Spain in the final of Male Kata of #KarateDubai2021. The current Olympic champion excelled in his performance of “Ohan Dai” kata outscoring Quintero by 28.38 points to 26.66 points.

“I did ‘Ohan Dai’ Kata today. I enjoyed how I felt doing this kata on top of the tatami. I have my teammates to thank because they helped me improve my Kata,” the World champion said.

With his triumph in Dubai, Kiyuna claims his fourth consecutive World crown after taking the titles in Bremen 2014, Linz 2016 and Madrid 2018.

The 31-year-old karateka joins Atsuko Wakai also from Japan as the athlete with the most medals won at World Championships in Kata. His victory today also makes Kiyuna exceed his own master Tsuguo Sakumoto as well as France’s Michael Milon who have three crowns each. Only Rafael Aghayev of Azerbaijan has won more World titles with five.

Ryo Kiyuna said:

“I am World champion, and I became this good at kata because of Sakumoto sensei. All my titles are thanks to him. Sakumoto sensei helped me to continue training. He gave me the possibility to train with him and I am honoured to have him as my sensei"

“I got all my power, all my heart from Sakumoto sensei”

Native from Okinawa, Kiyuna has mastered the traditional Karate style of the original birthplace of the sport.

“My intention has always been to showcase Okinawa Karate around the world,” said Kiyuna.

The highlight of his title-filled career was in August when he became Karate's first Olympic gold medallist of the birth nation of the sport and Okinawa’s first Olympic medallist.

Kiyuna defeated Spain’s Quintero in the final of the Olympic Kata competition and he starred in the most emotional moment of Karate at the Games.  

“The Olympic Games were a good experience for me. I wanted to spread all the values of Karate and show the world the best of our sport. I wanted to show all our tradition, all the budo of Karate, especially to kids,” said Kiyuna.

Now, as he reached the top of the podium of Karate’s biggest event for the fourth time, the Okinawa karateka takes his place in the history of the sport and extends his domination of the Male Kata category.