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Karate Stars claim stunning wins as Karate 1-Premier League concludes in Istanbul


Viviana Bottaro, Stanislav Horuna and Elena Quirici were among the big winners on the closing day of the Karate 1-Premier League being held in Istanbul. New names were also crowned in the fifth stage of Karate’s first-class competition as surprises took over the last day of action in Turkey. 

Italy's Viviana Bottaro produced the biggest upset of the day when the Italian karateka defeated two-time world champion and big favourite Kiyou Shimizu of Japan. Bottaro excelled in her performance of ‘Papuren’ kata and edged Shimizu 3-2 in a surprising outcome of the final of Female Kata. It is the first time since March 2017 that the 30-year-old Italian karateka makes it to the top of the podium of Karate 1-Premier League.  

“I am so, so happy! Kiyou Shimizu is a big champion and I have always admired her, so it makes me extremely happy that I could finally defeat her. This is the reward for so much effort and so many sacrifices that I have made. I would like to dedicate this medal to my family, my boyfriend, and to all the staff of the Italian team that have helped me so much to be here,” said Bottaro. 

Japan could bounce back from the disappointment and took the crown in Male Kata. In a disputed all-Japanese final, World champion Ryo Kiyuna beat team-mate Kazumasa Moto by split decision 3-2 so to win his second Karate 1-Premier League gold medal this year. Two-time world title-holder Kiyuna presented a newly-adapted kata – ‘Ohan’ – which allowed him to earn his 18th consecutive medal in international competitions. 

The Japanese representatives won one more gold medal today with Hiroto Gomyo’s victory over Iran’s Seyedali Karimi in the final of Male Kumite -67kg. The Japanese karate won the final bout by a slim 1-0. 


Grand Winner Stanislav Horuna of Ukraine spearheaded the list of fan favourites succeeding in Istanbul. The Ukranian idol won his fourth medal this year after beating Bahman Ghoncheh Asgari of Iran in the final by ‘Hantei’ or decision. 

“It has been a tough, long and intense mid-season. I am so glad that I could finish it with a gold. Now we have the summer break, I will do physical preparation and I will get ready for the second part of the year. It will be even more difficult and more exciting. I will do my best to show all that I have to give in the next events and in the World Championships,” said Grand Winner Horuna. 

Italy’s Sara Cardin was other of the top karatekas returning to winning mode. The Italian Karate Star beat Chinese Taipei Tzu-Yun Wen by 2-0 so to claim her second gold medal this year. The current European Championships bronze medallist scored two ‘Yuko’ to beat the Karate 1-Premier League standings leader from Chinese Taipei. 

Maintaining an impressive run of victories, Switzerland’s Elena Quirici won her second consecutive gold medal in international competitions with her victory today in Female Kumite -68kg. The Swiss wonder ovrcame a tight final against Japan’s Mizuki Kikuchi and took the top spot of the podium by 3-2. 

“It was a very tough competition and it was great that I could get the gold medal. The final was very hard because I lost a lot of time (in the fight) against my opponent so I had to do a lot in so little time. I am so happy now” added Quirici. 


Local fans’ hopes were soon dashed as Turkish talent Eray Samdan could not win gold in Male Kumite -60kg. World Champion Amir Mehdizadeh of Iran prevented the hosts’ celebration as he used his experience to win the final bout by 3-1. The Iranian world title-holder scored an early ‘Wazari’ and then a ‘Yuko’ to defeat the promising Turkish karateka who connected a 'Yuko'. 

Nonetheless, Turkish fans could see the flag of the host country going to the top of the podium since Merve Coban became the winner of Female Kumite -61kg. The local karateka defeated world champion Alisa Buchinger of Austria by ‘Hantei’ or decision after the bout finished tied 1-1. 

Turkey even had one more opportunity to increase their gold medal count in individual categories, but Finland’s Tita Keinanen defeated local karateka Meltem Hocaoglu by 2-0 in the final of Female Kumite +68kg. 

The biggest demonstration of offensive Karate today had Chinese Taipei Shiau-Shang Gu as the big star. In barely 45 seconds, the promising karateka from Chinese Taipei outnumbered her rival Bakhrinisio Babaeva of Uzbekistan with a showdown of kicking abilities. Shiau-Shang Gu scored two ‘Ippon’, one ‘Wazari’ and one ‘Yuko’ to stop the clock of the thrilling final of Female Kumite -55kg ahead of time.

Mahdi Khodabakhshi of Iran also took the spotlight in a spectacular bout as the Iranian karateka won gold following his 7-3 victory over Berat Jakupi of FYR of Macedona in Male Kumite -84kg. The last medal for the Iranian delegation was accomplished by Saleh Abazari who beat Netherland’s Tyron-Darnell Lardy by ‘Hantei’ (5-5) in the final of Male Kumite +84kg. 

The Karate 1-Premier League will travel to Berlin (Germany) for the sixth stage of Karate’s first-class series of international events. The Karate 1-Premier League Berlin will be held from September 14-16. 

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