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#KarateTakesCities: Sanae Agalmam and the thrill of Karate 1-Premier League


Karate is now more popular than ever.

As the Karate world gets ready for the fourth major event of the season – the Karate 1-Premier League Shanghai – and while the sport continues taking steps its Olympic debut, Karate is helping thousands of aspiring athletes all over the world to make their dreams come true.

That is the case of Sanae Agalmam of Morocco. 

At 21-years-old, Sanae Agalmam is Morocco’s national champion, one of the main Olympic hopefuls for the African nation and a representation of the outstanding popularity of the sport in Africa.   

“I am sure that the karatekas who will participate in the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020 will demonstrate how great karate is; they will do their best to take our sport to its highest level. They will do that because Karate is not just a spectacular sport, it is a discipline with many values. Everyone can enjoy and appreciate these values, and they will do so in Tokyo,” said Sanae Agalmam. 


It is common knowledge among Karate practitioners. As soon as the new karateka gets to wear the karate-gi for the first time, they realise that Karate is not just your average sport. It is much more than that, even when they start practising at a very early age, just as Sanae Agalmam did. 

“I started doing Karate when I was four. My father took me for the first time, and after that moment, I could not wait until the next class to start,” said the 21-year-old karateka. 

“When I was younger, I used to do Karate and gymnastics, but in the end, I decided to stay in Karate because I loved the motivation, the ambiance in training, the respect and all the values. This is what did it for me,” stated the Moroccan athlete who won the bronze medal at the last edition of the U21 World Championships. 


The fourth stop of the Karate 1-Premier League takes place this weekend in Shanghai (China).  Previously, the Karate 1-Premier League had stopped in Rabat, in Sanae’s home.  

The event which was held in the capital city of Morocco was one of the most spectacular Karate tournaments of the year and one of the spots where the discipline once again showcased its outstanding sporting spirit. 

“It is a great opportunity to compete in an event like the Karate 1-Premier League, even more when you are competing at home. The tournament is fantastically organised, and like all the previous years, we had a lot of spectators on the final day. It is very gratifying to see so many fans supporting us and following the sport,” said the local star who could not succeed this year at the event, after finishing in the fifth position of the second pool. 

According to Morocco’s national federation, no less than 40,000 people are affiliated to Karate’s governing body in the country. Over 900 clubs are registered, and the sport is so popular in Morocco that over 350,000 practitioners take the sport in the nation.  Morocco is one of the main examples of the outstanding popularity of Karate in Africa. 

“It is very important for Morocco Karate to have events like the Karate 1-Premier League. The best athletes compete there, and we have the chance to prove ourselves against them,” added the young karateka. 


As many karatekas around the world, Sanae Agalmam is living Karate to the fullest. She started competing at the highest level four years ago when she made her debut at the 2015 Karate 1-Premier League Paris. Now, she is one of the members of the advanced development programme of the Moroccan Karate Federation. 

The young karateka is currently living in the modern and state-of-the-art technification centre of the national federation in Rabat where she balances her studies and Karate training.  

“It is not always easy to find harmony between my career and training but thanks to the programme of the national federation, we receive the help we need to progress in the sport and in our studies,” added Agalmam. 


As the process to qualify for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 intensifies, Sanae Agalmam has her sights on the anticipated Olympic competition, just as thousands of karatekas around the world. 

“My main goal for the year is to get closer to the top positions in the World ranking,” said Agalman who is placed 16th in the Olympic standings and 26th in WKF World ranking. 

“I also want to succeed in the African championships. Last year I won the silver medal there and I hope that I can be in the final again. I was not on my top form back then, I did not train at my best, but this year I feel much better and I hope to continue improving,” stated the Moroccan karateka who lost the continental final last season against Sarah Sayed of Egypt. 

“Every time I step on the tatami, I try to do it better and better. It is hard because it gets more difficult in each tournament, but I am satisfied with my performance whenever I manage to give all that I have,” said Agalmam. 

The Karate 1-Premier League Shanghai is being held this weekend from Friday, June 7 to Sunday, June 9. The last day of competition will be streamed LIVE on 

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