Karate Day Ahead – Three events kick off the sport’s Olympic debut in Tokyo

Men’s kumite 67 kg, women’s kumite 55 kg and women’s kata will be contested on the first of three days of competition on August 5..

VINICIUS FIGUEIRA (BRAZIL) vs STEVEN DACOSTA (FRANCE) in Senior Kumite -67 Kg - Final bout
Photo taken during World Championship Madrid 2018 in (Wizink Center) on 10/11/2018. Event organized by World Karate Federation.
©2018 Xavier Servolle / Kphotos
VINICIUS FIGUEIRA (BRAZIL) vs STEVEN DACOSTA (FRANCE) in Senior Kumite -67 Kg - Final bout Photo taken during World Championship Madrid 2018 in (Wizink Center) on 10/11/2018. Event organized by World Karate Federation. ©2018 Xavier Servolle / Kphotos

Who’s on the mat

Men’s kumite 67 kg, women’s kumite 55 kg and women’s kata.

What to look out for

Three events – two in kumite and one in kata format – will take place on karate’s debut day at the Olympic Games on August 5. Kumite involves two opponents sparring against each other, while kata is a judged, solo choreographed performance of martial arts movements.

For kumite, the men’s 67 kg and women’s 55 kg are the lightest weight classes respectively. In the men’s, Kazakhstan’s Darkhan Assadilov, France’s Steven Dacosta and Italy’s Angelo Crescenzo are the medal favorites based on ranking; though others including this year’s European champion, Turkey’s Eray Samdan, also have a shot at the podium. As for the women, world number one Serap Ozcelik of Turkey is favored to win gold, though she will face a steep challenge from Ukrainian Anzhelika Terliuga, Taiwanese Wen Tzu-Yun and the host nation’s Miho Miyahara.

In women’s kata, meanwhile, Sandra Sanchez of Spain is the dominant force, being the reigning world champion from 2018 and having won every European Championship since 2015. Kiyou Shimizu of Japan, the world number two, will undoubtedly try to unseat Sanchez and claim gold on home turf. Bronze is likely to be contested between Viviana Bottaro of Italy, Grace Lau of Hong Kong and Sakura Kokumai of the United States.

Competition schedule (Japan Standard Time)

♦ 10:00- Women’s Kata Elimination and Ranking Rounds

♦ 12:05- Men’s Kumite -67kg Elimination Round

♦ 17:00- Women’s Kumite -55kg Elimination Round

♦ 19:30- Women’s Kata Medal Round

♦ 20:05- Men’s Kumite -67kg and Women’s Kumite -55kg Semifinals

♦ 20:40- Men’s Kumite -67kg and Women’s Kumite -55kg Final

Media Watch

♦ Hong Kong karateka Grace Lau discusses her lead-up to the Games- including an 8 month unplanned stay in Miami due to the pandemic.

♦ Australian Tsuneari Yahiro talks about how he rebounded from a near-amputation of his leg to qualify for Tokyo at 33 years old.

♦ Ariel Torres of the United States gives reporters – and viewers – tips to optimize their breathing for personal health.

♦ For more news about the Tokyo 2020 karate competition, visit the World Karate Federation website.

Latest odds

Check the latest odds on Olympic karate here.

Where to follow

World Karate Federation: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Tiktok

Around the Rings: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn

Compiled by ATR staff

This article is brought to you by the World Karate Federation