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European Karates rising stars to meet in Sofia


Over a thousand young Karatekas from all over Europe gather this weekend in Sofia (Bulgaria) to become the new promising stars of the sport in the continent. The tournament that traditionally crowns the future heroes of European Karate starts on Friday, and all the eyes are set on the athletes en route to bring new light to the ancient discipline. 

Some of the Karatekas competing this weekend in the 2017 EKF Junior, Cadet & U21 Championships have already reached glory at Karate’s biggest stages, thus showcasing the impact of young athletes in the sport. 

Denmark’s Katrine Pedersen leads this new bread of successful young Karatekas, since the 20 year-old athlete competes in Sofia as the current World Championships runner-up. The Shotokan practitioner reached the final in the biggest Karate event held in Linz four months ago, so the Danish favourite will try to prevail in the Female Kumite -68 kg category. Her goal will be to earn her second medal in EKF Junior, Cadet and U21 Championships following her silver in 2015. 

France’s Steven Dacosta will also act as leading name in Sofia and will be one of the front-runners of the traditionally successful French delegation in the event. The 20 year-old athlete is currently the World Championships bronze medallist and defending European champion in senior competitions so many hopes are built around one crown jewel of the powerful French team. The first-dan Shotokan athlete won silver medal in the 2016 EKF Junior, Cadet and U21 Championships and prevailed in the 2014 edition of the event held in Portugal. 

Meanwhile, fans’ attention will also be captured by the defending Cadet, Junior & U21 champions competing in Sofia. This is the case of Li Lirisman of Estonia, France’s Gwendoline Philippe, Eray Samdan of Turkey and Hungary’s Gabor Harspataki

No less than 1147 young karatekas from 50 countries are registered to participate in the event. This tally represents a clear increase of previous years, as 911 competitors from 48 nations competed in the 2016 edition held in Cyprus, while 900 karatekas from 48 countries wore their karategis at the 2015 event in Switzerland. 

In the last edition of the tournament, Turkey headed the final standings with a total of 20 medals, followed by France and Spain, with 12 medals each. 

Click here for more information on the 2017 EKF Junior, Cadet & U21 Championships

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