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Karate powerhouses dominate #EuroKarate2018 Team competition

2018-05-12

The team categories took over the stage of the 2018 Karate European Championships on day 02 of the tournament being held in Novi Sad (Serbia). Powerhouses of the sport struggled to extend their domination of the international scene with Spain and Italy taking the spotlight today.

In Team Kata, Spain managed to continue the success of the individual competition with an impressive demonstration in both Male and Female Team Kata categories. Following the qualification to the final of Damian Quintero and Sandra Sanchez on Thursday, the Spanish side outshined rivals in the Male competition and made it to their 10th consecutive final in European Championships. Spaniards have always reached the last day of competition in Male Team Kata since 2009; in the last ten years, representatives of the Iberian country have taken no less than four golds and five silver medals in this category.

The side formed by Francisco Jose Salazar, Jose Manuel Carbonell and Sergio Galan defeated Azerbaijan by 5-0 and then Turkey by a slim 3-2 to reach the final. Their rivals in the title-deciding bout will be newcomers of Russia. 

The Russian side produced one of the many upsets of the day with their surprising qualification to the final. The team formed by Maksim Ksenofontov, Meham Rzaev and Emil Skovorodnikov overcame a difficult pool to be in their first final in Male Team Kata in over ten years. Russia beat Croatia 5-0, then Montenegro by 3-2 and surprised favourites of Italy with a tight 3-2 victory in semi-finals. The progression of Russian Karate in Team Kata category was thus confirmed as their representatives will improve the third place achieved last year in Kocaeli (Turkey). 

FAVOURITES SHOW STRENGHT IN FEMALE TEAM KATA 

The final of Female Team Kata will be a showdown between two of the biggest dominators of the category in Europe. Spain and Italy demonstrated their power in the discipline by placing their kata squads in the bout for gold. 

Current title-holders of Italy will try to get a new gold in the category and hope to extend their traditional outstanding performances in the competition. The team composed by Sara Battaglia, Terryana D’Onofrio and Michela Pezzeti finished their first two bouts with 5-0 victories over Serbia and Germany. In semi-finals, the defending champions upset Turkey by 3-2. It is the sixth final in ten years for the “azzurri” who have always made it to the podium in the last decade of European Championships. 

Spain will be their opponents in the title-deciding bout. After getting bronze last year and claiming the title for the last time in 2016, the young Spanish team made it to their seventh final in the last ten years. The side formed by Lidia Rodriguez Encabo, Raquel Roy and Marta Garcia Lozano reached the last day of action after shining over the tatami of Novi Sad. The young Spaniards defeated Croatia and Russia, both by 5-0 and beat France 4-1 in semi-finals.

NEW COUNTRIES TAKING TEAM KUMITE COMPETITION BY STORM

Headed by Elena Quirici, Switzerland produced an outstanding performance to make it to the final of Female Team Kumite. Quirici, after qualifying yesterday for the final in individual competition, headed Switzerland in their victory over Bulgaria 4-0 in semi-finals, together with team-mates Ramona Bruederlin, Noemi Kornfeld and Nina Radjenovic. It is the first time in five years that Switzerland reache the quest for the medals in the European Championships. 

In a highly-successful day for the Italian delegation, the ‘Azzurri’ side also placed their Female Team Kumite side in the final. Led by Karate Star Sara Cardin, the Italian athletes presented an effective performance to have the chance to clash for gold. The team formed by Sara Cardin, Clio Ferracuti, Silvia Semeraro and Laura Pasqua edged Turkey to qualify for their first European final since 2010. 

Also finishing a long-time drought of medals, Spain wrapped-up a sensational day with their third ticket to the final of the day, this time in Male Team Kumite. The Spaniards reached the title-deciding bout for the last time in 2010. Now, the young squad formed by Pablo Arenas, Raul Cuerva, Samy Ennkhaili, Jose Rafael Ibanez-Saenz, Alejandro Molina, Babacar Seck Sakho and Jagoba Viziuete will try to bring back past successes with a qualification to the final achieved after their 3-0 victory over Portugal in semi-finals.

Meanwhile, Turkey surprised favourites of Azerbaijan in the race for the gold medal. This time, superstar Rafael Aghayev could not make Azerbaijan reach the final, and Turkey got the victory 3-1 in semi-finals. The Turkish side had prevailed in the competition last year at home, and is on track to achieve a sensational accomplishment after reaching the fifth consecutive finals. The Turkish squad made it to their fourth final in five years, thus showcasing the excellent performance of Turkish karatekas in the team competition. 

INSPIRING PARA-KARATE TOURNAMENT

The Para-Karate European Championships were celebrated here in Novi Sad for the first time. The debut of the modality, with the elimination rounds today, proved to be an inspiring and moving demonstration of the power of will; the para-karatekas showed over the tatami of Novi Sad that the values of the sport are stronger than the hardest of difficulties. 

Separated in the categories of blind/visually impaired, intellectually impaired and wheelchair user, the amazing para-karatekas gave a master-class of tenacity and courage in the quest to become the winners of the first edition of the Para-Karate European Championships. 

Action will continue on Saturday with the quest for the medals. The finals are scheduled from 12:00 to 13:55 and from 18:00 to 19:50. The bronze medal bouts run from 9:30 to 11:15 and from 15:30 to 17:15. All the day of Karate action will be streamed LIVE and FREE on karateworld.tv. 

 

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