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Ivanna Zaytseva win home gold as Grand Winners shine at Karate 1-Premier League Moscow


Ivanna Zaytseva won home gold and Grand Winners claimed four titles at the Karate 1-Premier League Moscow as the event concluded today. Sandra Sanchez, Anzhelika Terliuga, Steven Dacosta, Rafael Aghayev and Iranian karatekas were among the karatekas prevailing at the sixth stop of Karate’s biggest international events. 


The most emotional moment of the final day of Karate 1-Premier League Moscow occurred when local karateka Ivanna Zaytseva won the gold medal in Female Kumite +68kg. It was a dream coming true for the young Russian karateka as the representative of the organising country reached the top of the podium after defeating Grand Winner Ayumi Uekusa. Zaytseva won the final bout 2-0 much to the celebration of the thousands of local fans filling up Megasport Arena in Moscow. 

Ivanna Zaytseva said: “Ayumi Uekusa is the number one in the category, and she will definitively compete at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, so it is great that I could beat her today. I just want to thank my family who travelled here to Moscow, to all my team-mates, to the national team of Russia, to the coaches, and to all those who supported me here today”.


In the thrilling quest to the domination of Female Kata featuring Kata queens Sandra Sanchez of Spain and Kiyou Shimizu of Japan, this time the title went to Sanchez who won the crown in Moscow in a tight final bout. After the heart-wrenching title-deciding bout of the last event in Tokyo, Sandra Sanchez took her third gold medal in Karate 1-Premier League events this year thus avenging the defeat she suffered in the capital of Japan. Current Grand Winner Sanchez got a score of 26.82 with “Chantanyara Kushanku” kata for 26.54 of Shimizu. 

“I am really thrilled that I got to win today. It means that the Grand Winner award will be decided in the last event in Madrid,” said Sanchez who has won three of the events this year, for three titles for Shimizu. “Very small details make the differences between Kiyou and me; one day victory goes to her and another day it goes to me. We will see what happens in Madrid. It will be very exciting,” added the current World champion. 

Ryo Kiyuna of Japan avenged his team-mate’s defeat and won the title of Male Kata over Damian Quintero of Spain. The current Grand Winner from Japan has won all the Karate 1-Premier League events this year, and got one more gold medal after registering a score of 27.74 with “Ohan Dai” kata for 26.74 of Quintero. 


After recovering from an injury and being away from the top of the podium since his victory at the European Championships, Steven Dacosta of France produced an impressive come back to take the title of Male Kumite -67kg. The current Grand Winner and World champion beat Ali Elsawy of Egypt 2-0 in the final, so to win his third gold medal in Karate 1-Premier League this year. 

Steven Dacosta said: “The tournament has been very difficult and it was hard to reach the final after my recovery. However, today I was very focused and it turned out perfect for me”. 


Five-time world champion Rafael Aghayev of Azerbaijan won his first gold medal this season after prevailing in Male Kumite -75kg. The experienced karateka claimed a slim 1-0 victory over Kazakhstan’s Yermek Ainazarov in the final. 

Rafael Aghayev said: “Every competition is a big challenge for me. I had been unable to win gold until this event, so I am very happy that I could finally take the gold medal today.” 

Irina Zaretska claimed the second crown for the delegation of Azerbaijan following an impressive 5-0 triumph over China’s Li Gong in the final of Female Kumite -68kg. The former Grand Winner dominated the bout and baged her second consecutive gold medal after her success at the Karate 1-Premier League Tokyo. 

Irina Zaretska said: “I am very glad because I was very nervous throughout the whole tournament. This year is not being easy for me, but today, when I went into the tatami, I could find a way to score; I am thrilled that I could win the final”. 


Demonstrating a sensational level, Anzhelika Terliuga of Ukraine achieved a sensational fifth title this year with her victory in Moscow. The Ukrainian fan favourite who has won all the Karate 1-Premier League events this year with the exception of the silver medal she got in Dubai defeated Sara Yamada of Japan by an impressive 6-0. With this triumph, Terliuga secures the Grand Winner award in the category of Female Kumite -55kg. 


Iranian karatekas also took the spotlight today since the representatives of the powerhouse nation finished with three gold medals. Sara Bahmanyar of Iran upset Shara Hubrich of Germany in the final Female Kumite -50kg (1-0). Meanwhile, Zabihollah Poorshab defeated Ryutaro Araga of Japan in the final of Male Kumite -84kg (2-2). The gold medal count for the Iranian delegation was completed by Rozita Alipourkeshka who edged Canada’s Haya Jumaa 1-0 in the final of Female Kumite -61kg. 

The victories by Emil Pavlov of North Macedonia over Grand Winner Eray Samdan of Turkey (3-1) in Male Kumite -60kg, and Gogita Arkania of Georgia over Iran’s Sajad Ganjzadeh (7-3) in Male Kumite +84kg, together with the gold medals for Spain and Turkey in Female and Male Team Kata completed the list of gold medallists in Moscow. 

The Karate 1-Premier League travels now to Madrid (Spain) where the closing event of the season will take place from November 29 to December 1. 

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