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Pan American Karate heroes to clash for glory in Panama

2019-03-15

The Arena Roberto Duran sports hall in Panama hosts the 33rd edition of the PKF Karate Championships. The Pan American karate heroes hope to make history in Panama as the quest to win the Olympic qualification intensifies. 

The list of first-class karatekas competing in Panama is headed by Karate Star Antonio Diaz of Venezuela. The two-time World champion aims at continuing breaking all the records since the 38-year-old hero of the sport has gathered an outstanding tally of 16 gold medals in the event. 

The most awarded Karate athlete of all times will try to earn his 22nd medal at the continental stage. Diaz hopes to keep the crown of title-holder in Male kata which the Venezuelan star has claimed consecutively since 2008. In the last edition of the PKF Championships, Diaz took the continental title after winning all his bouts by unanimous decision including the final against fellow team-mate Cleiver Casanova. 

Another anticipated highlight of the competition will be the quest for gold in Female Kata. Two competitors have dominated the category for nearly a decade since Maria Dimitrova of the Dominican Republic and Sakura Kukomai of the USA have shared the honours in the last seven editions of the tournament. Kukomai has claimed four consecutive titles all of them after beating Dimitrova in the final. The fan favourite from the Dominican Republic defeated Kukomai in 2014 to win the continental crown. 

Meanwhile, in Female Kumite Valeria Kumizaki of Brazil hopes to keep the title in the -55kg category after her victory last year. The 32-year-old karateka has won the continental crown in the last two editions of the event, the last time following a 2-0 victory over Cuba’s Baurelis de la Caridad Torres. 

Brazil will try to keep their powerhouse status in the competition and has Vinicius Figueira as front-runner. The current title-holder in Male Kumite -67kg who is also the World Championships runner-up took the crown after beating team-mate Breno Teixeira by 6-0 in one of the most spectacular finals of the event which took place in Chile last year. 

All the attention in Male Kumite -75kg will be focused on Thomas Scott of the USA. The Karate Star has claimed five consecutive medals in the event, including titles in the 2018, 2015 and 2014 editions. Last year, the 28-year-old karateka from Texas defeated Venezuela’s Jhosed Ortuno in the final.  

The USA delegation topped the medal table in the last edition of the tournament with nine medals including four golds. The competition starts on Wednesday, March 20 with the first categories at stake. The event will have 22 categories including Para-Karate. 

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