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2017 Karate 1-Premier League GRAND WINNERS crowned


Meet the new Karate heroes. The 2017 GRAND WINNERS were announced in Halle/Leipzig (Germany) as the thrilling season of Karate 1-Premier League ended this weekend in the German city. The Karate 1-Premier League Grand Winner award celebrates the top competitors of the year in the most prestigious recognition of international Karate. These are the 2017 GRAND WINNERS. 

Damian Quintero (ESP)

Sadriddin Saymatov (UZB)

Andres Madera (VEN)

Stanislav Horuna (UKR)

Ryutaro Araga (JPN)

Sajad Ganjzadeh (IRI)

Sandra Sanchez (ESP)

Serap Ozcelik (TUR)

Anzhelika Terliuga (UKR)

Xiaoyan Yin (CHN)

Irina Zaretska (AZE)

Ayumi Uekusa (JPN)

MALE KATA: Damian Quintero (ESP) 

Damian Quintero’s predominance in the Male Kata competition at Karate 1-Premier League is so notable that the Spaniard is the only competitor who has managed to be proclaimed Grand Winner three years in a row. The 33-year-old Karate Star won the distinction in 2015 and last year, and this season the current European champion has also been elected as the top karateka in the Male Kata category of the first-class international Karate competitions. 

With six medals in seven appearances this year, including the golds at Karate 1-Premier League in Dubai and the European Championships, Quintero, who is an aeronautic engineer by trade, has demonstrated his outstanding form. The recognition of 2017 Grand Winner extends the impressive tally of awards of the World Ranking leader, who is on the path to become one of the most important Kata karatekas of his generation. 

MALE KUMITE -60KG: Sadriddin Saymatov (UZB) 

Uzbekistan’s Sadriddin Saymatov has rightly won the status of the most outstanding karateka of the 2017 Karate 1-Premier League season. At only 20 years old, the first-dan Shotokan karateka has claimed the most number of titles of Karate 1-Premier League this year. The current Asian Championships silver medallist, who previous to this season had only participated in three international tournaments in senior categories, won gold in three of his four appearances in Karate 1-Premier League this season. 

The memorable year of one of the most promising athletes of today’s Karate started with a surprising victory at Karate 1-Premier League in Paris. Saymatov – who has won the national title eight times - managed to repeat triumph shortly afterward in Rotterdam, to complete the tally of golds in Dubai. With the award of 2017 Grand Winner under his belt, the 20-year-old Uzbek champion embodies the growing power of younger karatekas in international Karate. 

MALE KUMITE -67KG: Andres Madera (VEN) 

After claiming bronze at the 2016 World Championships, Venezuela’s Andres Madera is presenting a meteoric career in international Karate. The 28-year-old karateka wins the Grand Winner award after earning gold in Karate 1-Premier League Paris and getting silver in Rotterdam.

With one gold and two silvers in the last three editions of the Pan American Championships and the World Ranking leader status to claim for, Madera is fast becoming a household name in his country. His growing popularity and trademark enthusiasm makes of Madera – who started in Karate at the age of six to redirect his troubling childhood- to become one of the fan favourites for upcoming top events.  

MALE KUMITE -75KG:  Stanislav Horuna (UKR) 

After overcoming a string of injuries, Ukraine’s Stanislav Horuna has produced one of the biggest comebacks this season. The 28-year-old karateka claims the Grand Winner award after winning gold in Paris and bronze in Dubai and being able to maintain a great level of performance throughout the season. 

The champion of The World Games is one of the most beloved karatekas among fans and it is easy to spot him surrounded by enthusiast in all the events that he attends. The popular athlete who is a lawyer in his hometown of Lviv receives the Grand Winner awards as a recognition of his brilliant campaign. 

MALE KUMITE -84KG: Ryutaro Araga (JPN) 

Japan’s Ryutaro Araga is another of the big names of the year. The current World Champion earns the Grand Winner award after producing a remarkable winning streak that lasted nearly two years. The World Ranking leader had not lost a bout since October 2015, before being defeated this year at the Karate 1-Premier League in Dubai. Previously, the 26-year-old Gojo Ryu karateka had claimed gold in both the Karate 1-Premier League in Paris and Rotterdam. 

Showcasing the traditional skillful fighting style of Japanese karatekas, Ryutaro Araga - who owns a popular dojo in Kyoto - is one of the exponents of the dominating generation of athletes from the birth nation of the sport. These young Japanese karatekas hope to make a name for themselves in Karate as the ancient modality approaches to Tokyo 2020.   

MALE KUMITE +84KG: Sajad Ganjzadeh (IRI) 

The rising impact of Iranian Karate in international competitions is being showcased by Sajad Ganjzadeh’s domination of the Male Kumite +84kg category. The 25-year-old karateka is not only the defending World champion and World Ranking leader, but he has also claimed three medals in Karate 1-Premier League this year. 

The first-dan Shito Ryu practitioner prevailed in the events of Paris and Dubai and won bronze in Rotterdam so to take a well-deserved Grand Winner award for his powerful demonstration on the tatami. 

FEMALE KATA: Sandra Sanchez (ESP)

Spain’s Sandra Sanchez achieves one more milestone in her flashing career clinching the 2017 Grand Winner award in Female Kata. The World Ranking leader, who broke into international Karate only five years ago, gets the reward to a successful season in which the 35-year-old athlete has won medals in all six international competitions, including golds in Karate 1-Premier League in Dubai and in the European Championships. 

With her permanent smile and infectious energy as her trademark, the Sports Sciences major has shaken Female Kata with her firm and precise performances. Sanchez’s recognition puts Spain as front-runner nation in Kata categories with both Grand Winner awards going to the Iberian country.   

FEMALE KUMITE -50KG: Serap Ozcelik (TUR)

With medals in four top international events this year, Turkey’s Serap Ozcelik has secured the Grand Winner award in Female Kumite -50kg thus wrapping up a remarkable season. The 2014 World title-holder managed to recover from the shocking early elimination in the 2016 World Championships, and the 29-year-old 1st dan Shotokan karateka has claimed two silvers in Karate 1-Premier League in Rabat and Dubai and her eight consecutive medal in European Championships this year.

The Istanbul-native, who is a physical education teacher at a primary school in her home-town, confirms her status as one the biggest names in the category and a regular fixture in the podiums of top international events. The member of EGO Sport Club in Ankara is a three-time European champion, two time World Championships medallist and the European Games current titleholder.

FEMALE KUMITE -55KG: Anzhelika Terliuga (UKR) 

At 25-years-old, Ukraine’s Anzhelika Terliuga is one of the representatives of the dazzling new generation of young Ukrainian karatekas who are making their mark in international competition. After winning bronze in the European Championships and claiming gold in the Karate 1-Premier League in Rotterdam and now in Halle/Leipzig this year, the promising karateka wins the Grand Winner so to confirm her emergence in international karate.

FEMALE KUMITE -61KG: Xiaoyan Yin (CHN)

With three medals in Karate 1-Premier League events, China’s Xiaoyan Yin has been the leader of Female Kumite -61kg. The 24-year-old karateka won gold in Rotterdam, silver in Rabat and bronze in Dubai to demonstrate her top form in the competition.

The Beijing native has experienced a meteoric rise in international Karate. Before appearing as one of the front-runners of the category this year, the 1st Dan Shito Ryu karateka had only participated in three Karate 1-Premier League events, with only a silver medal in Okinawa to account for. Her shining performance this season together with her triumph in the Asian Championships and now the Grand Winner award put Xiaoyan Yin as one of the top rising karatekas.

FEMALE KUMITE -68KG: Irina Zaretska (AZE)

Azerbaijan’s Irina Zaretska wraps up a remarkable year with her Grand Winner award. The 21-year-old karateka started the season winning gold at the EKF Junior, Cadet & U21 Championships, and shortly thereafter, in her first appearance in senior competition, the karateka who has participated in Karate 1-Premier League this season representing a French club, claimed gold in the event in Rotterdam. Another gold medal in Karate 1-Premier League in Dubai and the fifth place in the event in Rabat paved her way to the Grand Winner award. 

The Cernovidskaya native who won gold at home in the 2015 European Games confirms her status as promising figure of Karate and one of the top names to watch in the sport. 

FEMALE KUMITE +68KG: Ayumi Uekusa (JPN)

There are not many karatekas nowadays who can match Ayumi Uekusa’s outstanding track record. The Japanese heroine has won medals in all her 17 appearances in international competition since her debut in 2012, including the title at the World Championships, the gold medal in the 2017 Asian Championships and two golds in Karate 1-Premier League this year. 

With this impressive winning record, the 25-year-old karateka who also prevailed at The World Games is one of the most dominating athletes of international Karate.  


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