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Young karatekas show power of new generations in Karate 1-Premier League in Paris

2017-01-28

Upcoming generations of karatekas kept making their case to dethrone the big favourites in day 2 of the Karate 1-Premier League in Paris. The surprises continued in the inaugural event of the season since World Champions and top ranked competitors strived to qualify to the finals.

Alizee Agier of France, Sajad Ganjzadeh of Iran and Ryutaro Araga of Japan where among the favourites to reach the finals, while a new breed of young athletes stated their impressive progress on the tatamis.

Local fans will have reasons to celebrate as one of the most revered competitors of the host country earned their qualification to the finals of the tournament. Alizee Agier made it to the title-deciding bout in Female Kumite -68kg, as the 2104 World champion edged out current World Championships silver medallist Katrine Pedersen of Denmark, and European champion Elena Quirici of Switzerland among others in an impressive performance. Iryna Zaretska of Azerbaijan will try to upset local fans by beating fan favourite in the final. The third-ranked in the WKF world standings reached the last round after beating French karateka Lamya Matoub in semifinals.

France’s Nadege Ait Ibrahim followed Agier’s path and also qualified for the last day of competition in Female Kumite +68kg. The winner of the 2015 Karate 1-Premier League in Paris will try to repeat success in this first event of the year and she will face Natsumi Kawamura of Japan in the final. World Junior, Cadet and U21 champion Natsumi Kawamura is another member of the numerous representation of the birth nation of the sport in the last day of competition.

First time is a charm

The Female Kumite -55kg category will present two young competitors fighting for gold for the first time in their careers. The 108th qualified in the world ranking Amy Connell of Scotland surprised by making it to the final in her first participation in Karate 1-Premier League competition. Meanwhile, Taravat Khaksar of Iran, who holds the 49th position in world ranking, will try to improve her best result of a bronze medal in the 2014 Karate 1-Premier League in Jakarta.

Turkey’s Merve Coban came back after early defeats in her three last appearances in international events to regain the form that took her to win the silver medal in the 2016 European Championships in Female Kumite -61kg. Her rival in the last bout will be Jovana Prekovic of Serbia, who defeated French heroine Lucie Ignace in semifinals. The European Championships bronze medallist Prekovic reaches her first final in Karate 1-Premier League.

Newcomers against favourites in Men’s categories

In Male Kumite -75kg Ukraine’s Stanislav Horuna will meet Ahmed El Sharaby of Italy in the final. The Ukrainian fan favourite achieved his best result after winning the bronze medal in 2014 World Championships and aims at his first gold in major international competitions after his triumph in 2014 Karate 1- World Cup in Lasko. His rival in the final Ahmed El Sharaby demonstrated top form, and will also participate for the first time in a final bout of the top series of international Karate events.

Spectacular clashes were showcased in the Male Kumite -84kg. Karate Star Ryutaro Araga paved his way to continue his domination in the category with an impressive display of power and superiority. The defending world champion defeated 2014 world title-holder Gogita Arkania of Georgia and the 2016 world champion in Team Kumite Poorshab Zabihollah of Iran to reach his fifth consecutive final in major international competitions. Ilya Granovesov of Russia will try to stop Araga’s two-year winning streak after four unsuccessful appearances in Karate 1-Premier League events.

Following his victory in the 2016 World Championships, Iran’s Sajed Ganjzadeh hopes to continue his winning streak in Male Kumite +84kg category. The defending world and Asian champion presented a powerful display after beating Karate Star and world ranking leader Enes Erkan of Turkey and fellow Iranian promising karateka Saman Heydari to qualify for the final. On the other side of the tatami, Tyron-Darnell Lardy of The Netherlands will try to produce another surprise in the tournament. The 39th ranked karateka reaches his second final in Karate 1-Premier League events after his silver medal in 2015 in Coburg (Germany)

The action will resume on Sunday with the bronze medal bouts and the finals of all the categories.

 

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