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Top karatekas show outstanding performances in day 01 of Karate 1-Premier League Tokyo


Karate fans enjoyed a day to remember at Tokyo Budokan sports hall. First-class karatekas took the spotlight of the first day of action of the Karate 1-Premier League Tokyo as Japanese representatives, Sandra Sanchez of Spain and promising karatekas became the heroes of day 01 of the closing Karate 1-Premier League event of the season. 


In Female Kata, Grand Winner Sandra Sanchez of Spain will meet World champion Kiyou Shimizu of Japan in an anticipated quest for the title. Local star Kiyou Shimizu opened up the medal-full showdown of representatives of the host country with a perfect presentation today. The Japanese World title-holder won all her bouts by unanimous decision including the 5-0 victory over Italy’s Viviana Bottaro in semi-finals. 

In a repetition of the final of the preceding Karate 1-Premier League event which was held in Berlin, Spain’s Sandra Sanchez reached the title-deciding bout after presenting a firm performance on the tatami of Tokyo Budokan sports hall. The World ranking leader from Spain, who retains the Grand Winner title for the second year in a row, beat Japan’s Emiri Iwamoto 4-1 to qualify for the final thus claiming her 35th consecutive medal in international competitions.

“It is another final for me, but it is a completely different feeling. I am here, in Japan, I have a ‘Tokyo 2020’ poster in front of me, and the stage could not be better. It is fantastic to be in the final against Kiyou Shimizu. Who knows if we can repeat this final at the World Championships in Madrid,” said Sanchez. 


Following Kiyou Shimizu’s success, the host nation placed four more karatekas in the final day of competition. In Female Kumite -50kg, Miho Miyahara continued her outstanding season and reached her fifth final of the year after her victories in the Karate 1-Premier League Rabat and Paris, the Karate 1-Series A Guadalajara and the Asian Championships. The 22-year-old karateka defeated France’s Sophia Bouderbane 3-1 in semi-finals and hopes to take the gold medal and the Grand Winner award on Sunday. 

Her rival in the title-deciding bout will be Spain’s Gema Morales who surprised favourites and made it to her first Karate 1-Premier League final in over two years. The 22-year-old Spaniard beat Japan’s Ayaka Tadano in semi-finals by ‘Senshuu’ or first unopposed point advantage (4-4). 


Meanwhile, in Male Kumite -67kg Hiroto Shinohara continued Japan’s prevalence to clinch one more spot in the final for hosts. The 29-year-old Japanese karateka edged Yves Martial Tadissi of Hungary 1-0 to make it to his second final this year after his silver in Karate 1-Premier League Paris. 

On the other side of the tatami will await Turkey’s Burak Uygur. At 23-years-old, the Turkish karateka surprised with his victory over one of the competitors on top form in Tokyo, France’s Steven Dacosta. 


Japan placed one more karateka in the last day of competition with Shiori Nakamura extending the success of the host country in Female Kumite -55kg. The 25-year-old karateka upset Jana Bitsch of Germany 1-0 to qualify for her first final of Karate 1-Premier League in over two years. 

Also going back to the limelight after a long absence, Kazakhstan’s Sabina Zakharova reached the last day of action of the event for the first time in over a year. The 26-year-old karateka defeated Sabrina Ouihaddadene of France in a tight clash 1-1 to make it to the final. 


The fifth and last spot in the finals for Japan today came in the Male Kumite -75kg category. Yuri Mota surprised the front-runners and qualified for Sunday's bouts in an impressive performance. The Japanese karateka beat Grand Winner Stanislav Horuna of Ukraine by 2-0 and completed the excellent day for the host country. 

In yet another impressive come-back of experienced karatekas, Luigi Busa of Italy prevented an all-Japan final in the category after qualifying for the last day following his 3-0 victory over local hero Ken Nishimura. The Italian former continental champion made it to his first Karate 1-Premier League final since his victory in the closing event of the season last year in Halle/Leipzig. 


The Karate 1-Premier League Tokyo was also the moment to shine for young karatekas. The final of Male Kumite -60kg will feature 21-year-old Eray Samdan of Turkey against 18-year-old Kajith Kanagasingam. 

The Turkish karateka, who is becoming one of the rising stars of this year’s Karate 1-Premier League and who leads the standings of the competition in the category, beat Karate Star Douglas Brose of Brazil in semi-finals 4-0. 

“It is my fourth final this year, and it makes me very happy to fight for gold. Now, my goal is to have the chance to participate in the World Championships in Madrid and fight for the title there, so I can put a perfect end to this perfect year,” said Turkey’s Eray Samdan. 

Meanwhile, the young French karateka Kajith Kanagasingam reached his first-ever final of the competition after defeating Ukraine’s Oleh Filipovych 6-5 in one of the highlight bouts of the day. 

The last day of the event will be broadcast to a number of TV Networks around the world and will be streamed LIVE on WKF’s online platform, 

CLICK HERE to access the list of TV networks broadcasting the Karate 1-Premier League Tokyo. 

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