Who’s on the mat
Men’s kumite 75 kg, women’s kumite 61 kg and men’s kata.
What to look out for
In the men’s 75kg kumite, expect a heated three-way battle for the gold between world number two Luigi Busa of Italy, this year’s European champion Stanislav Horuna of the Ukraine, and European silver medalist Rafael Aghayev of Azerbaijan. Ken Nishimura of Japan, the reigning world bronze medalist from 2018, is also one to watch on home turf. The women’s 61kg will likewise be closely contested – world number one Xiaoyan Yin of China will be mainly challenged by reigning world champion Jovana Prekovic of Serbia and world bronze medalist Giana Lotfy of Egypt.
As for men’s kata, Spain’s Damian Quintero Capdevila and Japan’s Ryo Kiyuna are expected to duke it out for the gold medal based on rankings. Ali Sofoglu of Turkey, however, could also get into the mix, with the world number three having beaten Quintero at this year’s European Championships. 41-year-old Venezuelan legend Antonio Diaz, who delayed retirement to compete in Tokyo, also has a decent chance of making the podium.
Competition schedule (Japan Standard Time)
♦ 10:00- Men’s Kata Elimination and Ranking Rounds
♦ 12:28- Women’s Kumite -61kg Elimination Round
♦ 17:00- Men’s Kumite -75kg Elimination Round
♦ 19:30- Men’s Kata Medal Round
♦ 20:05- Men’s Kumite -75kg and Women’s Kumite -61kg Semifinals
♦ 20:40- Men’s Kumite -75kg and Women’s Kumite -61kg Final
The story of the day came from Bulgaria’s Ivet Goranova, who despite coming in as the sixth ranked karateka and being the youngest in the field at 21, became the Olympic champion in the women’s -55kg kumite. Goranova’s win marks the first Olympic gold for Bulgaria since 2008. Anzhelika Terliuga of the Ukraine took silver, while Austrian Bettina Plank and Taiwanese Wen Tzu-Yun shared the bronze. World number one Serap Ozcelik of Turkey unexpectedly lost all of her pool matches and did not advance to the semifinals.
In the men’s -67kg kumite, a late medical withdrawal of world number three Italian Angelo Crescenzo left the field more open than anticipated. Gold was won by France’s Steven da Costa, who beat Kazakhstan’s world number one Darkhan Assadilov in the semifinals. Silver went to European champion Eray Samdan of Turkey, and bronze was shared by Assadilov and Abdelrahman Al-Masatfa of Jordan.
Women’s kata, meanwhile, went much more according to form than the kumite events, as Sandra Sanchez of Spain, who has dominated the discipline for the past few years, defeated world number two Kiyou Shimizu of Japan in the final. Viviana Bottaro of Italy and Grace Lau of Hong Kong, ranked third and fourth in the world respectively, claimed bronze.
Medal count as of August 5th
1. Bulgaria: 1 gold, 0 silver, 0 bronze
1. Spain: 1 gold, 0 silver, 0 bronze
1. France: 1 gold, 0 silver, 0 bronze
4. Japan: 0 gold, 1 silver, 0 bronze
4. Turkey: 0 gold, 1 silver, 0 bronze
4. Ukraine: 0 gold, 1 silver, 0 bronze
7. Austria: 0 gold, 0 silver, 1 bronze
7. Hong Kong: 0 gold, 0 silver, 1 bronze
7. Italy: 0 gold, 0 silver, 1 bronze
7. Jordan: 0 gold, 0 silver, 1 bronze
7. Kazakhstan: 0 gold, 0 silver, 1 bronze
7. Chinese Taipei: 0 gold, 0 silver, 1 bronze
♦ Japan’s Ryu Kiyuna, from the birthplace of karate in Okinawa, is featured in the New York Times before his gold medal attempt in men’s kata on Friday.
♦ Sakura Kokumai, who quit her job, moved across the world and trained by herself in order to qualify for the Olympics, speaks to Sports Illustrated in an in-depth interview.
♦ Sandra Sanchez, the first ever Olympic champion in karate, tells Spanish daily El Pais about her background and her experience on the Olympic karate mat (in Spanish).
♦ For more news about the Tokyo 2020 karate competition, visit the World Karate Federation website.
Check the latest odds on Olympic karate here.
Where to follow
Compiled by ATR staff
This article is brought to you by the World Karate Federation