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Grand Winners show strength to dominate #Karate1Dubai

2019-02-17

Grand Winners proved too strong and became the big heroes of the Karate 1-Premier League Dubai. The second stop of Karate’s first-class series of international events crowned the owners of the “Best of the Best” award who showed strength as the quest to the Olympic qualification intensifies. 

Spain’s Sandra Sanchez used her World champion status to take the first gold in Karate 1-Premier League this year. The current title-holder and defending Grand Winner defeated Japan’s Kiyou Shimizu in the final of Female Kata. Sanchez extended her gold medal count in Dubai since today’s victory represents the fourth consecutive title for the Spanish Karate Star in the city of the UAE. 

“I am very happy because this gold medal gives me confidence after winning the title in the World Championships in Spain at home. It also gives me hope to continue working this hard,” said Sanchez who excelled in her performance of “Chatanyara Kushanku” kata in the final. 

“I told Kiyou (Shimizu) that it is better this way:  each one of us can alternate the victories in the events (as Shimizu won gold in Paris) so we can continue making the competition interesting,” joked the Grand Winner of Spain.

RYO KIYUNA AND SERAP OZCELIK ALSO SHINE AS GRAND WINNERS 

The defending Grand Winners kept on performing at stellar mode since the title in Male Kata and Female Kumite -50kg also were among the titles to the current owners of the "Best of the Best" award. Ryo Kiyuna of Japan took his second consecutive gold medal in this competition after defeating Spain’s Damian Quintero in the final of Male Kata. With this victory, the current World champion avenged the defeat he suffered against Quintero in the event in Dubai last year.  

It was the first of the two gold medals that Japan won today since Hideyoshi Kagawa earned the crown in Male Kumite +84kg. The promising Japanese karateka defeated France’s Mehdi Filali by 5-2 in the final. 

Meanwhile, Serap Ozcelik of Turkey demonstrated to be one of the finest competitors of the sport nowadays. The Turkish Karate Star and Grand Winner who had also won in Paris defeated Ukraine’s Kateryna Kryva in the final by 7-1. Ozcelik started the bout down in the scoreboard after receiving a “Yuko” but she came back and scored seven points to take her eighth medal in Karate 1-Premier League. 

“I am happy because it is my second consecutive medal here in Dubai and the second gold this year. But I want more!” said the Grand Winner. “After receiving the punch (of the Yuko in the face), I think I came back because I started my recovery towards the title,” added the karateka who will be 31 years old tomorrow. 

NEW GOLDS FOR STEVEN DACOSTA AND GWENDOLINE PHILIPPE

France’s new stars – Steven Dacosta and Gwendoline Philippe – performed at an outstanding level in Dubai and took their second gold medal this year. The two young karatekas proved to be the main rising forces in international Karate with new victories and a sensational demonstration of efficiency on the tatamis. 

21-year-old Steven Dacosta won his third consecutive gold in international competitions with his victory in Male Kumite -67kg. The karateka nicknamed “Le Petit Prince” edged Kazakhstan’s Didar Amirali in a tight bout that ended with triumph for the current World champion by “Senshuu” or first unopposed point after the match ended tied 3-3.  

Grand Winner Gwendoline Philippe also used the poise of her young age in her favour as the French rising star won the title in Female Kumite -61kg. The 22-year-old karateka defeated two-time World champion Giana Lotfy of Egypt by “Hansei” or decision after the final bout ended with a tie 0-0. 

France completed a remarkable tournament with a third gold medal which was achieved by Anne Laure Florentin in Female Kumite +68kg. In a thrilling final, the current European champion defeated Clio Ferracuti of Italy by 5-2.

GRAND WINNER UGUR AKTAS TRIUMPHS AGAIN 

Wrapping up the count of Grand Winners reaching the top of the podium in Dubai, Turkey’s Ugur Aktas went back to winning ways with his title in Male Kumite -84kg. The Turkish Grand Winner took a slim 2-1 triumph in the final over Iran’s Ali Fadakar. It is the first crown for 23-year-old Aktas this year who last season claimed two gold medals in Karate 1-Premier League. 

“After Paris, I wanted to take a medal here so badly. It was very important for me to win here because I want to win as many medals as possible this year. I have my mind set on all the Karate 1-Premier League and the European Championships. This year is very important for the Olympic qualification and I will fight with all my heart to achieve my goals,” said the Turkish Grand Winner. 

NEW NAMES TAKE SPOTLIGHT IN DUBAI

Kazakhstan’s Darkhan Assadilov beat Japan’s Yunosuke Minami in Male Kumite -60kg by 4-0, while Tzu-Yun Wen of Chinese Taipei defeated Ukraine’s Anzhelika Terliuga by 4-3 in Female Kumite -55kg. 

One of the sensations of the tournament, Feryal Abdelaziz of Egypt won her first gold medal in Karate 1-Premier League after prevailing in Female Kumite -68kg. The Egyptian karateka who had surprised throughout the tournament upset Irina Zaretska of Azerbaijan by 2-1. 

The powerhouse nation of the sport Iran also took home top honours today as Bahman Asgari Ghoncheh prevailed in Male Kumite -75kg. The current World champion won his first gold this year after upsetting Italy’s Luigi Busa by 2-0. 

The teams of Turkey and Italy completed the list of gold medallists with their crowns in Male and Female Team Kata respectively. 

The Karate 1-Premier League will travel to Rabat (Morocco) where the third event of the season will take place from April 19-21.  

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