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Top takeaways from Karate 1-Premier League in Rabat


After the thrilling events in Paris, Rotterdam and Dubai, Rabat hosted the fourth stop of the 2017 Karate 1-Premier League. The first major international tournament being held on African soil this season demonstrated Karate´s global impact, as athletes from African nations dominated the final medal table. Furthermore, Karate fans had the chance to see some of the biggest names of the sport in action.

These are the top takeaways of the 2017 Karate 1-Premier League in Rabat.

Rafael Aghayev's triumphant return at international stage

As one of Karate’s more revered athletes, Rafael Aghayev’s scarce appearances in international competitions are highly celebrated by fans of the sport. The long wait paid off for admirers of the Azerbaijani superstar since six months after winning his fifth World Championships in Linz, Aghayev showcased his outstanding abilities and claimed gold in Rabat.

It wasn’t an easy path for the acclaimed competitor. The five-time World champion and ten-time European Championships title-holder made his debut beating local karateka Jalal Bouzzher 4-1, followed by a split decision victory over Turkey’s Serkan Yagci. Aghayev also had to go to the decision in his next bout against Egypt’s Abdalla Mamduh Abdelaziz, so to finish the pool stage with 2-0 victory over Saudi Arabia’s Raef Alturkistani.

In the poolwinner tree round, the 32–year old karateka defeated 3-0 Turkey’s Erman Eltemur, who had shocked Aghayev in the Karate 1-Premier League in Istanbul last year. In the final clash, the Azerbaijani champion overcame Grand Winner Majed Alkhalifah of Saudi Arabia 3-0, thus clinching his fourth gold medal at Karate 1-Premier League competitions.

As the European Championships appear in the horizon in the international calendar, the question among Karate fans is if Rafael Aghayev will manage to continue his outstanding winning streak and if the Karate superstar will be able to extend his unprecedented tally of awards in the big European event scheduled for May 4-7 in Kocaeli (Turkey)

Fourth gold for Viviana Bottaro

Italy’s Viviana Bottaro is set to become one of the biggest names of the 2017 edition of Karate 1-Premier League. The 29 year-old karateka has won gold in all the Karate 1-Premier League events this year, three of them by leading Italian trio in the Female Team Kata competition, and the last one this past weekend after prevailing in the Individual Female Kata category.

The World Championships bronze medallist demonstrated great form and defeated top competitors such as Katelyn Entwistle (ENG), Alexandra Feracci (FRA), Dilara Bozan (TUR) and Raquel Roy (ESP) to claim her second gold medal in individual competition at Karate 1-Premier League events.

This outstanding run of victories places the Genovese karateka as one of the front-runners to win the Grand Winner award this year and to earn gold at the upcoming European Championships.

Favourites in trouble

The absence of some top competitors in the event opened the door for front-runners to shine at Karate’s biggest stage in Rabat. However, candidates to win in the Moroccan city failed to achieve the highest honours at the event, thus showcasing the extremelly demanding nature of high-level competition in Karate.

Out of the six Grand Winners in contention, only Majed Alkhalifah of Saudi Arabia reached the final stage. Karate Stars Serap Ozcelik and Enes Eerkan of Turkey and Sara Cardin of Italy also could not earn gold in Rabat, thus setting for silver medals for the two Turkish top competitors, and a bronze medal for the Italian European champion. 

Morocco and Egypt dominate the medal table

Moroccan karatekas showcased the rising status of Karate in African countries and used the home ground factor to claim 13 medals. Najlae Karchali in Female Kumite -61kg, Mohammed Elhanni in Male Kata and the Female Kata team all became the local heroes after taking the Moroccan flag to the top of the podium.

Egyptian athletes also took the chance to make an impact in Rabat and finished the tournament with a tally of ten medals. The performance of the Egyptian delegation was so remarkable that up to five categories were dominated by representatives of the African country. Radwa Sayed in Female Kumite -50kg, Aya Shaaban in Female Kumite -55kg, Malek Salama in Male Kumite -60kg, Ali Elsawy in Male Kumite -67kg, and Ahmed Elasfar in Male Kumite +84kg were responsible for turning the Karate 1-Premier League Rabat into an Egyptian celebration.

Click here for more information on the 2017 Karate 1-Premier League in Rabat. 

About Karate World TV Channel 

The Karate World TV Channel gives fans around the world a front row seat to view all the Karate 1- Premier League events. By signing to the Karate World TV Channel, Karate fans will receive all the excitement of the 2017 Karate 1-Premier League in HD, including all five tournaments LIVE, On-demand event replays, Video On Demand and Exclusive Content. 

Sign up for the Karate World TV Channel HERE

About Karate 1 – Premier League 

The Karate1-Premier League- is the most important league event in the world of Karate. It comprises of a number of the most prominent Karate competitions, with the cities of Paris (France), Rotterdam (Netherlands), Dubai (UAE), Rabat (Morocco) and Halle/Leipzig (Germany) acting as the stops of this year’s edition.

The Karate 1-Premier League will also be one of the key elements in the road to the Olympic qualification since the points to be allocated in Karate 1-Premier League tournaments will play an essential role in the configuration of the World ranking. 

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