Karate Day Ahead – Two more medal events on tap for the final day of competition

Six different countries have won the first six medal events in the sport’s Olympic debut in Tokyo

Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Karate - Men's - 75kg Kumite - Final - Nippon Budokan, Tokyo, Japan - August 6, 2021. Luigi Busa of Italy in action against Rafael Aghayev of Azerbaijan. REUTERS/Annegret Hilse
Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Karate - Men's - 75kg Kumite - Final - Nippon Budokan, Tokyo, Japan - August 6, 2021. Luigi Busa of Italy in action against Rafael Aghayev of Azerbaijan. REUTERS/Annegret Hilse

Who’s on the mat

Men’s kumite +75 kg and women’s kumite +61 kg.

What to look out for

In karate’s third and final day, the heaviest categories in kumite will have their turn. The highest ranked karateka in the men’s +75kg is Uğur Aktaş of Turkey, who won this year’s European Championships – but he is by no means an outstanding favorite to win gold. His opponents Ivan Kvesić of Croatia and Jonathan Horne of Germany are both reigning world champions in their weight classes, while Iran’s Sajjad Ganjzadeh is a world silver medalist, and it is likely that these four will be the main podium contenders.

The women’s +61kg has a more obvious favorite: Azerbaijan’s Irina Zaretska, who is this year’s European champion, the reigning world champion and the world number one with a substantial lead in ranking points. Her main challengers will be Meltem Hocaoğlu of Turkey, also a European Champion from this year in a different weight class, reigning Asian champion Hamideh Abbasali of Iran, and 21-year-old rising star Gong Li from China PR.

Competition schedule (Japan Standard Time)

♦ 14:00- Women’s Kumite +61kg and Men’s Kumite +75kg Elimination Rounds

♦ 19:20- Women’s Kumite +61kg and Men’s Kumite +75kg Semifinals

♦ 19:55- Women’s Kumite +61kg and Men’s Kumite +75kg Final

Friday’s recap

The men’s 75kg kumite was dominated by Europeans, who took the first four spots. World number two Luigi Busá of Italy won the gold ahead of Azerbaijan’s Rafael Aghayev. This year’s European champion, Ukrainian Stanislav Horuna, shared the bronze with Gábor Hárspataki of Hungary, for whom this was his first ever medal on the world stage. A European also won the women’s 61kg kumite: in this case, reigning world champion Jovana Preković of Serbia, who defeated world number one Xiaoyan Yin of China PR to win Serbia’s second gold at Tokyo. Egypt’s Giana Lotfy and Turkey’s Merve Çoban shared the bronze in that event.

Host nation Japan finally got its first Olympic karate victory in the men’s kata, with Okinawa native Ryo Kiyuna defeating Spain’s Damian Quintero Capdevila in a surprisingly dominant performance. Turkey’s Ali Sofuoğlu and the United States’ Ariel Torres won bronze, the latter narrowly denying 41-year-old Venezuelan Antonio Diaz a chance at the podium.

Medal count as of August 6th

1. Spain: 1 gold, 1 silver, 0 bronze

1. Japan: 1 gold, 1 silver, 0 bronze

3. Italy: 1 gold, 0 silver, 1 bronze

4. Bulgaria: 1 gold, 0 silver, 0 bronze

4. France: 1 gold, 0 silver, 0 bronze

4. Serbia: 1 gold, 0 silver, 0 bronze

7. Turkey: 0 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze

8. Ukraine: 0 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze

9. Azerbaijan: 0 gold, 1 silver, 0 bronze

9. China PR: 0 gold, 1 silver, 0 bronze

11. Austria: 0 gold, 0 silver, 1 bronze

11. Egypt: 0 gold, 0 silver, 1 bronze

11. Hong Kong: 0 gold, 0 silver, 1 bronze

11. Hungary: 0 gold, 0 silver, 1 bronze

11. Jordan: 0 gold, 0 silver, 1 bronze

11. Kazakhstan: 0 gold, 0 silver, 1 bronze

11. Chinese Taipei: 0 gold, 0 silver, 1 bronze

11. United States: 0 gold, 0 silver, 1 bronze

Media Watch

♦ Ryu Kiyuna of Japan was dominant in his gold medal-winning performance on Thursday – dedicating his win to his mother, who passed away two years ago.

♦ American musician Gene Coleman, who was inspired by karate’s Olympic appearance, composes a soundscape of music, called ‘KATA’, to celebrate the sport.

♦ 41-year-old Venezuelan Antonio Diaz, the only karateka to be an Opening Ceremony flag bearer, wrote a heartfelt farewell to his sport just before his first and last Olympic competition.

♦ Fresh off of winning an Olympic bronze, Taiwanese athlete Wen Tzu-Yun announces an engagement to her partner, a fellow karateka.

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

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Compiled by ATR staff

This article is brought to you by the World Karate Federation