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First Karate Champions at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Tue 17 August 2021 | 18:00

With the debut appearance of Karate at the 2020 Summer Olympics, we have taken a look at the sport’s inaugural Olympic champions who not only etched their names in history as the first ones but also as the last ones, in as much as Karate has been added just temporarily to the Tokyo Olympic Games.

With the foundation of The World Karate Federation in 1970, there came huge efforts to enhance the sport's popularity and visibility at the world level to the end of having the emergence of Karate at The Tokyo Olympics in Japan where the sport was originally evolved.

At the tournament of

Karate at the 2020 Summer Olympics

, which took place earlier on August 4 to 8 at the iconic Budokan known as the home of budo which is a Japanese term that describes modern Japanese martial arts, 80 Karatekas from around the world took part in the tournament as 60 number of them contested in the Kumite competition, and twenty made appearance in the Kata competition.

As both of the Kumite and Kata divisions of the tournament were divided 50/50 between men and women, eight gold medals were awarded to the champions, which two of them were allocated to the Kata contesters, one for each sex and six of them were granted to Kumite competitors in three weight categories for each sex.

Therefore the first Karate Champions at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the division of Kumite, competed in three weight categories of−67 kg, −75 kg, +75 kg for men and three weight categories of  −55 kg, −61 kg, +61 kg for women.

First Karate Champions at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Here we would get to know the First Karate Champions at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, if you are interested to know more about Olympic Karate, you can look into

An introduction to Karate, the new Olympic Sport

as well.

Sandra Sánchez

  • Event: Kata

  • Country: Spain

She is a Spanish Karateka who won the gold medal in the women kata division at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. She has made her career very illustrious as she has collected the gold medal in this event at the European Karate Championships in six successive tournaments from 2015 to 2021.

It goes without saying that with winning the most medals in the Karate1 Premier League, Guinness World Records has recognized her as she won 35 consecutive medals from January 2014 to February 2020.

Among her recent titles, one can suggest that along with winning the gold medal in the women's kata event at the 2019 European Karate Championships took place in Guadalajara, Spain; she represented her national side at the 2019 European Games in Minsk, Belarus and received the gold medal in the women's individual kata event as well.

Likewise, she took the gold medal in the women's individual kata event at the 2019 World Beach Games held in Doha, Qatar.

While she bagged the gold medal in her event at the 2021 European Karate Championships which occurred in Poreč, Croatia, she also won the first-ever Olympic Games karate gold medal in Tokyo so as to become her national side oldest ever Olympian at 39 years and 323 days.

That is to say, she is considered to be the

first Karate Champions at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

, as she defeated Japan's Kiyou Shimizu in the women's kata final.

Ryo Kiyuna

  • Event: Kata

  • Country: Japan

He is a Japanese karateka who won the gold medal in the male kata event at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

He is honoured to be a three-time gold medal winner in the men's kata event at the World Karate Championships and a two-time gold medal winner in the men's team kata event as well.

Not to mention that he is a four-time gold medal winner in both the individual and team kata events at the Asian Karate Championships.

In regard to his most recent titles, it is notable to indicate that he received the gold medal in the men's kata event

at the 2018 Asian Karate Championships held in Amman, Jordan.

Then he went on to take the gold medal in the men's kata event at the 2018 Asian Games held in Jakarta, Indonesia as well. Moreover, he collected the gold medal in both the men's individual kata and men's team kata events at the 2019 Asian Karate Championships held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

By being one of the

first Karate champions at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

, he became Japan's first gold medalist from Okinawa as he beat Spanish Damián Quintero in the final.

As he has not lost a tournament since February 2018, he managed to score 28.72 points out of 30 for his performance at Nippon Budokan of the Tokyo Olympic Games.

It is pertinent to note that at the gold medal ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, he paid tribute to his mother's support, who passed away in 2019 at the age of 57, as he carried an image of her during the proceedings.

Ivet Goranova

  • Event: Kumite, 55 kg

  • Country: Bulgaria

As a Bulgarian karateka, she succeeded to take the gold medal in the women's 55 kg Kumite event at the 2020 edition of the Olympics.

Likewise, she was honoured to win the gold medal in the women's Kumite 55 kg event at the 2019 European Games which took place in Minsk, Belarus as she beat Anzhelika Terliuga of Ukraine in the final.

In 2018, she managed to get a bronze medal in the women's Kumite 55 kg event at the 2018 World Karate Championships that occurred in Madrid, Spain. Then in 2019, she again bagged a bronze medal in the women's Kumite 55 kg event at the 2019 European Karate Championships that happened in Guadalajara, Spain.

In order to take part in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, the 21-year old earned qualifications at the World Olympic Qualification Tournament in Paris, France.

Therefore as one of the

first Karate Champions at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

, she beat Tzuyun Wen from Chinese Taipei, Serap Arapoglu from Turkey,  Sarah Bahmanyar from Iran and Ukraine's Anzhelika Terliuga in a 5-1 victory to secure her gold medal in the women's Kumite -55kg of the tournament.

  • Event: Kumite, 61 kg

  • Country: Serbia

She is a Serbian karateka who competes in the Kumite -61 kg division and became the first and mere representative of Serbia at the

Olympic karate Tokyo 2020

.

The 25-year-old made Serbians' hearts flattering as she won gold at the World Championships in 2018. Since 2012, she has been actively taking part in various competitions and until now she succeeded to collect five gold, two silver and seven bronze medals.

That is to say prior to being included among the First Karate Champions at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, she was the European and world karate champion and received a gold medal at the continental championship in May, so as to be qualified for the Olympic Games.

Moreover, at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, she beat Yin Xiaoyan of China in the women's 61 kg event for the sake of securing the seventh gold medal for Serbia which was the second gold medal for her nation as well after just Milica Mandic had bagged the first Olympic gold medal in taekwondo for Serbia.

Feryal Abdelaziz

  • Event: Kumite, +61 kg

  • Country: Egypt

As an Egyptian karateka, she was awarded the gold medal in the women's +61 kg event at the 2020 Summer Olympics taking place in Tokyo, Japan and was honoured to become the first female Egyptian to have ever won a gold medal at the Olympic Games.

Among her honours, one can suggest that she took part in the 2019 African Games held in Rabat, Morocco and managed to win the silver medal in the women's Kumite 68 kg event.

For being permitted to compete at the Tokyo Olympic Games, she qualified at the World Olympic Qualification Tournament in Paris, France as she beat the Chinese Gong Li and Elena Quirici of Swiss, but then she was beaten by an Iranian until a scoreless draw with Algerian Lamya Matoub led her to go through the semi-finals.

Therefore the 22-year-old participated in the 2020 editions of the Olympics and beat Sofya Berultseva of Kazakhstan, 5:4, to finally beat Azerbaijan’s Irina Zaretska 2-0 so as to become one of the first Karate Champions at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

It is notable to suggest that her winning the gold medal is considered to be Egypt’s eighth ever gold medal at the Olympic Games since 1912 and Egypt’s first gold medal since the 2004 Athens Olympic Games as well.

Steven Da Costa

  • Event: Kumite, 67 kg

  • Country: France

He is a French karateka who succeeded to win the gold medal in the men's 67 kg event of Olympic Karate Tokyo 2020.

In 2018, he was honoured to take the gold medal in the men's 67 kg event at the 2018 World Karate Championships which took place in Madrid, Spain. Likewise, he is a two-time gold medal winner in this event at the European Karate Championships.

In addition, in 2017, he managed to win the silver medal in the men's team Kumite event at the 2017 European Karate Championships that occurred in İzmit, Turkey.

In the meantime, he bagged the gold medal in the men's Kumite 67 kg event at the 2017 World Games that took place in Wrocław, Poland.

Most recently in 2021, he won a bronze medal in the men's Kumite 67 kg event at the 2021 European Karate Championships occurred in Poreč, Croatia.

Then at the event of Karate at the 2020 Summer Olympics, he ended up beating Eray Şamdan of Turkey in the final of the men's 67 kg event so as to be one of the

Karate's first Olympic champions crowned.

Luigi Busà

  • Event: Kumite, 75 kg

  • Country: Italy

As an Italian karateka, he is honoured to be a two-time gold medal winner at the World Karate Championships and a five-time gold medalist at the European Karate Championships.

Following winning two golds, three silvers and a bronze at the world championships, he managed to make a feat which is considered to be the most illustrious peak of his career, that is being regarded among Karate's first Olympic champions crowned.

The Italian karateka had secured the final as he defeated the Ukrainian Stanislav Horuna by the score of 3-0 at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Afterwards in the final, the 33-year-old amazingly defeated Rafael Aghayev from Azerbaijan 1-0 who has anchored five world titles and 12 European titles to his name. With this feat, he bagged the ninth gold medal and the 37th medal of the Italian team at the Tokyo Games.

More specifically, among his honours, one can suggest that he received the silver medal in the men's Kumite 75 kg event at the 2015 European Games held in Baku, Azerbaijan. Not to mention that he was awarded the gold medal in the men's Kumite 75 kg event at the 2019 European Karate Championships that took place in Guadalajara, Spain.

Sajjad Ganjzadeh

  • Event: Kumite, +75 kg

  • Country: Iran

As an Iranian karateka, he succeeded to collect gold medals at the Olympic Karate Tokyo 2020, 2014 and 2016 world championships, 2013 and 2017 Asian championships, and 2018 Asian Games as he often competes in the division of Kumite above 84 kg.

Not to mention that he has been granted a number of awards in competitions within the Karate1 Premier League. In his final bout at the Tokyo Olympics, he received a penalty for a kick that was ostensibly too impressive for karate.

That is to say, Tareg Hamedi of Saudi Arabia launched a strike that connected exquisitely on a pure left-footed kick to the Iranian head and upper body to such an extent that he was left unconscious on the tatami, while his eyes stared vacantly upward.

Although Hamedi did a celebratory hop and let loose with a scream following his achieving the first gold medal in Saudi Arabia's Olympic pedigree, it was revealed that the referees conferred and disqualified the Arab for a hansoku which is a serious violation of the rules.

Because karatekas were not allowed to follow through fully on their strikes in this edition of Olympic karate. Otherwise stated highlight-reel strikes that are considered to make mixed martial artists or boxers very rich, are too dangerous for Karate.

Then Ganjzadeh realized that he was an Olympic champion after he woke up backstage and came back to accept his gold medal as he became not only the first Iranian karateka to win an Olympic gold medal but also he is now among one of the Karate's first Olympic Champions crowned.

 

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source: SportMob