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Sandra Sanchez and up-and-coming karatekas leave their mark on first day of Karate 1-Premier League Rabat


Grand Winner Sandra Sanchez, Rafael Aghayev and a host of promising karatekas took the spotlight on the first day of action at the Karate 1-Premier League Rabat. There were plenty of surprises on the opening day of competition as new names made it to the finals of the tournament. 

Spain’s Sandra Sanchez was one of the few favourites confirming their star status in Rabat. The Grand Winner secured her fifth medal in major international competitions this year in another display of kata excellence. The World Ranking leader from Spain continues dominating the Female Kata competition and won all her bouts by unanimous decision except the 4-1 victory over Dilara Eltemur of Turkey, so to extend her outstanding tally of 28 consecutive medal in international competitions. 

“The tournament is very beautiful so far and I am very happy with the way it went for me. It is my last event before the European Championships so making it to the final is giving me extra motivation,” said World Ranking leader Sanchez. 

“The bouts against Mo Sheung Grace Lau are always very difficult so it will be a complicated final for me. I just want to enjoy this moment,” added the Spanish Kata queen. 

Sandra Sanchez’s rival in the final will be Mo Sheung Grace Lau of Hong Kong. The up-and-coming karateka defeated Spain’s Yaiza Martin Abello in semi-finals so to make it to her second final this year. The 2015 Asian Championships runner-up took silver in the Karate 1-Premier League Dubai, where the 26-year-old athlete was defeated by her rival on Sunday Sandra Sanchez. 

Rafael Aghayev of Azerbaijan was another top competitor stating their front-runner position in Rabat. The five-time World champion defeated Karate Star Thomas Scott of the USA in semi-finals 2-0 so to reach his third final this year. The winner of Karate 1-Premier League Dubai and silver medallist of the Karate 1-Premier League Paris from Azerbaijan will face newcomer Dastonbek Otabolaev of Uzbekistan in the final of Male Kumite -75kg. The 23-year-old karateka from Uzbekistan surprised with his qualification to the final after edging Logan Da Costa of France (1-0) in semi-finals. It will be the second Karate 1-Premier League final for the Uzbek athlete after his silver in Halle/Leipzig last year. 


Brazilian champion Valeria Kumizaki qualified for her first final this season after prevailing in the Female Kumite -55kg category. The current World Championships runner-up demonstrated great level in her second appearance this year and beat Alesandra Hasani of Croatia (2-1) so to fight for her first gold in Karate 1-Premier League in nearly two years. 

“I am very happy about reaching the final. We are working hard in our preparations to our main goals such as the World Championships and of course the eventual qualification to the Olympic Games,” said the Brazilian fan favourite.

“We are lucky that we are receiving lots of support from our coaches, from our federation, from our government, from our National Olympic Committee; all this made it easier for us to compete at these events with the best mentality. Our only focus is to keep our spirits high. I will continue working hard so I can get another success for my country on Sunday”, added Kumizaki. 

On the other side of the tatami, the Pan American champion from Brazil will meet England’s Carla Burkitt. The English karateka produced another surprise today with her 2-0 victory over Grand Winner Anzhelika Terliuga in semi-finals. It will be the first Karate 1-Premier League final for the English promising athlete. 

The last day of competition will also have another Grand Winner in line since Sadriddin Saymatov of Uzbekistan demonstrated top form in the Male Kumite -60kg category. The Uzbek sensation has taken two bronze medals in Karate 1-Premier League this year and has prevailed in the 2018 Karate 1-Series A Salzburg. The current U21 World Championships runner-up defeated Nader Azzouzi of Tunis 3-0 to fight for his first gold this year. 

Turkey’s Aykut Kaya is also in the final of this category. The Turkish karateka who claimed silver at the Karate 1-Premier League Rotterdam barely one month ago beat Karate Star Douglas Brose in semi-finals 3-0 and will try to extend the impressive count of medals of Turkish representatives at this edition of Karate 1-Premier League. 


The local fans will also have reasons to celebrate in the final day of competition since Moroccan karateka Khaoula Ouhammad qualified for the final of Female Kumite -50kg. The representative of the organising country edged Karate Star Alexandra Recchia of France in a spectacular semi-final bout that ended 6-6 with the Moroccan athlete reaching the final. Miho Miyahara of Japan will try to upset local fans as the Japanese karateka also made it to the final. 

The Male Kumite -67kg will have an All-Egyptian final since the two representatives of the African country Magdy Hanafy and Ali El Sawy will fight for gold on Sunday. It will be the second consecutive final in Rabat for El Sawy who won gold at the event last year, while Hanafy reached the top of the podium in Karate 1-Premier League events for the last time in Hamburg in 2016. 

Action will continue on Saturday with the rest of categories at stake. The final day of action of the Karate 1-Premier League Rabat will be broadcast to a worldwide viewing audience on many TV Networks around the world and on KARATEWORLD.TV.

For a full list of TV Networks and countries CLICK HERE and select your country to see where you can watch the Karate 1-Premier League Rabat.

CLICK HERE to go to KarateWorld.TV.

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