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Sixth consecutive gold for Eray Samdan as Italy top medal table at #KarateSochi2018

2018-02-04

Turkish karateka Eray Samdan produced one of the most outstanding results of the last day of EKF Cadet, Junior & U21 Championships with his sixth consecutive gold medal in the competition. As the tournament drew to a conclusion in Sochi (Russia), Italy finished top of the medals table. The Italian team ended the championships in the Russian city with a total of 15 medals, including five golds. 

Turkey finished the tournament on a high note since one of their most promising karatekas - Eray Samdan - confirmed his rising star status with his victory in U21 Male Kumite -60kg. The current U21 World Championships bronze medallist beat Belarus’ Oleg Melekhin by 4-0 in one of the highlights of the day. The 20-year-old Turkish athlete claimed his sixth consecutive continental title and made history for the sport thus becoming one of the biggest names of the event.  

“I am so happy! I can’t believe that I won my sixth gold!” said Samdan who has reached the top of the podium in all his appearances at the main continental event since 2013. 

DOUBLE CROWN FOR NADIA GOMEZ MORALES 

Nadia Gomez Morales was the other big star of the closing day in Sochi. After her impressive victory in the World Cadet, Junior & U21 Championships in Tenerife barely three months ago, the defending world champion added the continental title to her impressive tally of awards.

The young karateka overwhelmed France’s Aurore Bourcois 7-0 in the final after scoring four yukos and one outstanding ippon by ura mawashi-geri to prevail in U21 Female Kumite -50kg. Nadia Gomez Morales was – together with teammate Lidia Rodriguez Encabo – the only competitor who managed to secure the double crown with back-to-back world and continental titles.

“I am so happy! I could not believe that I could win the World Championships in Tenerife, and now, it is amazing for me to be here and to be able to defend my country. I still cannot believe that I could win again!” said Gomez Morales. 

“Kumite is always a very uncertain matter; you never know what it can happen. You may be lucky and things may go your way but it is also very easy to receive a kick or something in the last seconds and you end up losing everything. I was afraid that as a World champion, I was the rival to beat and that anything could happen; so it is a great feeling for me to win this way,” added the double-crown winner. 

LI LIRISMAN BACK TO WINNING WAYS

Estonia’s Li Lirisman also took the spotlight on the final day of action with her victory in U21 Female Kumite -55kg. The 20-year-old karateka returned to the top of the podium two years after her last big success in international competition. Lirisman became the underage World champion in 2015 and won gold in the Karate 1 Youth Cup in 2016 but had failed to make it to the final rounds ever since. In Sochi, the promising Estonian defeated Switzerland’s Maya Schaerer 3-0 to take the European crown. 

The rest of the categories in Female competition today produced surprising results. Switzerland’s Nina Radjenovic shocked with her tight 1-0 victory in U21 Female Kumite -61kg, while Serbia’s Marina Radicevic added the gold in U21 Female Kumite -68kg to her silver medal in the 2016 edition of the tournament. Meanwhile, Mirnesa Bektas of Bosnia and Herzegovina dazzled and took the first gold medal for her country in the competition with her 6-2 win over Israel’s Dina Loncic in U21 Female Kumite +68kg.

KARATE POWERHOUSES SHINE IN SOCHI

The French team managed to secure one of the top positions of the medals table with one more gold on the last day. Maxime Relifox won the title in U21 Male Kumite -75kg after upsetting Turkey’s Faith Sen by ‘Hansei’ and gave the fourth continental crown for the European powerhouse of the sport. 

Azerbaijan’s Aliyev Huseyin with his victory in U21 Male Kumite -67kg; Denmark’s Michel Corbalan’s win by ‘Senshu’ (3-3) in U21 Male Kumite -84kg, and Belarus’ Aliaksei Vodchyts’ triumph by 2-0 in U21 Male Kumite +86kg completed the list of medallist in male categories in Sochi. 

With the same number of golds as the Italian team, the delegations of hosts of Russia and Spain finished on second and third position of the medals table with 14 and seven medals respectively. No less than 35 countries took home awards at the event being held in Sochi thus showcasing the impact and the high level of the sport all over Europe. 

CLICK HERE to go the micro-site of the 2018 EKF Cadet, Junior & U21 Championships. 

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