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New names dazzle in day 01 of Karate 1-Premier League Istanbul


The fifth stage of Karate 1-Premier League started in Istanbul (Turkey) with surprises taking over the competition and new names upsetting favourites in the quest to the finals. Viviana Bottaro and Sara Cardin of Italy, Turkey’s Eray Samdan and Grand Winner Stanislav Horuna of Ukraine were among the big winners today. 

Turkey’s Eray Samdan took the spotlight of the tournament as the promising local karateka qualified for the final at home. Making the best of the home-ground factor, the 21-year-old sensation performed at an outstanding level to reach the final day of competition. The six-time underage European champion dominated the pool with an impressive total of 18-6 in three bouts. In a forceful demonstration of offensive karate, Samdan defeated Kazhakstan Darkhan Assadilov in semifinals 7-0 to make it to his third consecutive final this year. 

“I want to be Grand Winner. I want to win the right to wear the golden karate-gi next year, so I am very happy that I got to qualify for my third final of Karate 1-Premier League, after winning in Dubai and Rotterdam” said Samdan. “This is my home, I can feel the support that I am getting and now, I just want to be the champion of the Karate 1-Premier League Istanbul”, added the Turkish talent. 

His rival in the final will be Iran’s Amir Mehdizadeh. After competing in only one international event this year, the current Asian and World champion qualified for the final after edging Italy’s Angelo Crescenzo in semifinals (1-0). 


Viviana Bottaro of Italy produced one of the biggest upsets of the day after qualifying for the final of the Female Kata competition. The Italian current European Championships runner-up defeated Grand Winner Sandra Sanchez by split decision 3-2 to reach her first Karate 1-Premier League final in over a year. The 30-year-old karateka avenged her defeat to Spain’s Sandra Sanchez in the final of the European Championships barely one month ago, and beat Sanchez to fight for her third gold in Karate 1-Premier League. 

“I am very happy because I had the chance to fight and to defeat some of the biggest karatekas in the world. In fact, I had just lost to Sandra Sanchez in the European Championships. At the beginning, it was difficult for me to concentrate after my defeat in Serbia one month ago. I think that in the end, it was good because it helped me grow and now you can see that the hard work and all the preparations that I did have paid off. I will give my best in the final and I hope that I can win” said Bottaro. 

The other finalist in Female Kata is Japan’s Kiyou Shimizu who presented an impressive return to Karate’s biggest event after being absent in the last two stops of the competition. The two-time World champion won all her bouts today by unanimous decision with the exception of the 4-1 over fellow team-mate Natsuki Shimizu. The Japanese kata queen beat Japan’s Emiri Iwamoto 5-0 to reach the final.  


Italy had even more reasons to celebrate today since Karate Star Sara Cardin was one of the few front-runners succeeding in the first day of competition in Istanbul. The Italian fan favourite qualified for her second final this year after edging Germany’s Jana Bitsch in semi-finals by 1-0. The winner of the Karate 1-Premier League Dubai aims at extending her impressive tally of awards and hopes to improve the bronze medal she won in the European Championships barely one month ago. 

“After getting the third place at the European Championships, it was hard for me to maintain the tension and to keep up the will to win; but I managed to find my focus. I don’t think I performed at a great level but I made very little mistakes and I kept a cold head throughout the competition,” said Cardin, who will clash in the final against Chinese Taipei Tzu-Yun Wen. The leader of the Karate 1-Premier League standings in Female Kumite -55kg from Chinese Taipei claimed a late ‘Ippon’ to defeat Iran’s Travat Khaksar by 3-1 in semi-finals. 

The defending Grand Winners will also have representation in the finals since Stanislav Horuna made it to the last day of competition in Male Kumite -75kg. The Ukrainian idol performed at an impressive level throughout the tournament and finished the pool round with an impressive count of 14-2 in three bouts. The bronze medallist in both Karate 1-Premier League Paris and Dubai beat Erman Eltemur of Turkey to complete his qualification to the final. 

“I feel exhausted! Hopefully, I had time to recover between my bouts and here you have the result! I am satisfied with the outcome of the day and with some actions that I did. However, I understand that I did some mistakes. Later today I will analyse these mistakes, so I don’t make them again in the final,” said Stanislav Horuna. 

The Ukrainian ace will clash for gold against Bahman Asgari Ghoncheh of Iran who defeated Gabor Harspataki of Hungary in the semi-finals. 

The clash between newcomers Bakhrinisio Babaeva of Uzbekistan and Shiau-Shuang Gi of Chinese Taipei in Female Kumite -50kg, and Iran’s Seyedali Karimi against Japan’s Hiroto Gomyo in Male Kumite -67kg complete the list of finalists of day 01 of #Karate1Istanbul. 

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