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Karate powerhouses lead standings for Youth Olympic Games

2018-06-01

The World Karate Federation has announced today the official standings for the qualification to the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018. As the Karate world is counting the days to the anticipated debut of the sport in the Youth Olympic Games, young karatekas are getting closer and closer to make their Olympic dreams come true. 

Once that all the events within the qualification period have been finalised, the standings of the six categories of the Karate competition at the Youth Olympic Games have been completed. Karate powerhouses are showing their influence at grass-root level by taking the top spots in the standings. 

After finishing in second place at the inaugural Karate 1-Youth League in Sofia barely a week ago, Japan’s Masaki Yamaoka is the leader of the Male Kumite -61kg category. The World Junior Championships bronze medallist from Japan takes the first place with 300 points difference over Fahik Veseli of FYR of Macedonia.

Meanwhile, the category of Male Kumite -68kg is headed by Italy’s Rosario Ruggiero. One of the most promising Kumite competitors in Europe and current World Junior Championships silver medallist, the Salerno native has a clear 795-points lead over second-placed Abilmansur Batyrgali of Kazakhstan. 

In Male Kumite +68kg the top spot goes to young Turkish talent Enes Bulut. The promising karateka from Turkey won the bronze medals at the Junior European Championships and at the World Junior Championships in Tenerife. While Turkey’s Ferhat Demir and Morocco’s Nabil Ech-Chaabi are respectively in the second and third places at the standings, the spot to be eligible to qualify for the Youth Olympic Games goes to Slovakia’s Tomas Kosa, who is the current Junior European Championships runner-up. 

With two top spots taken by Japanese karatekas, the birth nation of the sport also showed power in female categories. Rinka Tahata is the second-placed competitor in Female Kumite -53kg after being proclaimed Junior Asian Champion and runner-up of the Karate 1-Youth League in Sofia. The two-time underage continental champion is 150 points behind leader Damla Ocak of Turkey. The promising Turkish competitor is the current World Junior Championships silver medallist and confirms the prevalence of the Eastern European country at underage level.  

The list of Japanese karatekas among the top-placed competitors in the standings is completed by Kokoro Sakaji in Female Kumite -59kg. The young Japanese athlete recently won gold at the Karate 1-Youth League Sofia and is the current Junior Asian Championships bronze medallist. The category of Female Kumite -59kg is headed by English talent Charlotte Hope. The Junior World Championships bronze medallist is the current Junior European title-holder and leads the category by 855 points. 

Meanwhile, the first place in the category of Female Kumite +59kg goes to Greece’s Kyriaki Kydonaki. The current Junior European champion has a 365 points-lead over second-placed Laura Lyck of Denmark. 

Following the Youth Olympic Games qualification system, 12 athletes will earn their tickets to the event from the Olympic standings. Additionally, 24 spots (12 per gender) will be allocated at the upcoming Youth Olympic Games qualification tournament to be held in Umag (Croatia) from June 29 to 30. The rest of the quota for Karate at the Youth Olympic Games will be completed with host country places and universality places up to the final 24 men and 24 women set to compete in Buenos Aires 2018.  

Go to the Youth Olympic Games micro-site on WKF.net HERE to get access to the full list of the Olympic standings. 

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