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2018 Para-Karate World Championships take modality to new heights


Karate fans had the unique opportunity this past November to witness one of the most memorable moments of the sport when the best para-karatekas in the world took the stage of the 2018 Karate World Championships. The WiZink Center sports hall in Madrid (Spain) turned into a showdown of the power of will and a celebration of the influence of Karate in the lives of people with impairments. 

With a hundred athletes from 33 countries participating in Madrid, the third edition of the Para-Karate World Championships broke all participation records and was a tremendous success. It was the third time that the Para-Karate World Championships were included in the programme of Karate’s biggest event after the successful tournaments in Bremen 2014 and Linz 2016, and the demonstration in Paris 2012. In Madrid, the para-karatekas amazed with their abilities and their moving quest to the medals. 

“It is always gratifying to see how much our Para-athletes have accomplished; it makes all of us Karate enthusiasts proud to attest that thank to our sport, the Para-karatekas are able to achieve unimaginable triumphs, both on and off the tatami. As president of the WKF, it is an honour to celebrate the progress of our Para-Karate competition as it was showcased in Madrid,” said WKF President Antonio Espinós. 

Representatives from 12 nations went home with medals, with Spain and Egypt topping the final standings.  Deborah Knihs of Brazil and Abdelaziz Abouelnaga of Egypt were designated MVPs of the tournament after leading the voting on WKF social media channels. Nonetheless, all competitors deserve the glory for proving that there are no barriers big enough when it comes to Karate.

In terms of the competition, hosts of Spain dominated the tournament with five medals and two golds. Egypt with two gold medals and four awards also confirmed their powerhouse status in the modality.

Isabel Fernandez became one of the stars of the event with her celebrated title in Female Wheelchair user as the Spanish para-karateka won gold at home. Antonio Gutierrez also reached the top of the podium in front of family and friends, in the category of Male Intellectually Impaired. The two gold medals for Egypt were claimed by Abdelaziz Abouelnaga in Male Wheelchair user and Salma Alaaeldin Ebrahim in Female Intellectually Impaired. 

Meanwhile, Helga Balkie of Germany achieved an outstanding accomplishment after taking her third consecutive world title in the category of Female Blind/Visually impaired following her victories in Linz 2016 and Bremen 2014. Oba Yasushi of Japan took the crown in Male Blind/Visually impaired category after getting bronze in Linz 2016 and silver in Bremen 2014. 

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