The Mediterranean Karate Federations Union Championships held this past weekend in Toledo (Spain) showcased the thrilling and arduous quest to success in this ancient discipline, as rising Karatekas surprised Karate Stars to win gold in the memorable competition. The event celebrated in the Spanish city featured World and continental champions and some of them suffered major upsets in the race to the top of the podium.
Local star Sandra Sanchez paved hosts’ way to reign in the competition after prevailing in Female Kata category. The European champion defeated Margarita Morata in an all-Spain final and claimed her fifth gold medal of the season, thus confirming her condition of main front-runner of the category.
Sandra Sanchez’s victory opened a triumphant journey for the local delegation, as Spain finished on top of the final medal table with a tally of 14 medals. Cristina Vizcaino in Female Kumite -68kg, Jose Manuel Carbonell in Male Kata, Spanish teams in Male Kata Female Kumite completed the golden list of winners for hosts in the event.
Karate Stars crowned in Toledo
While some of the favourites confirmed their status with impressive victories in Toledo, the event will go down in history for the surprising setbacks suffered by top Karatekas.
Turkey’s Serap Ozcelik prevailed in Female Kumite -50kg and extended her winning streak after her triumph in Karate 1-Premier League in Istanbul last weekend. One of the anticipated highlights of the event, the repetition of the final of the European Championships between Ozcelik and France Alexandra Recchia did not occur as the French current continental gold medallist was defeated in the first bout of the pool phase by Morocco’s Aicha Sayah in one of the main upsets of the competition.
Following Ozcelik’s example, fellow Turkish star Enes Erkan also repeated his victory in Karate 1-Premier League in Istanbul with another triumph in Toledo. The current World champion beat Egypt’s Ossama Mansour in the final and claimed his second gold medal of the season.
Karate Star Giana Lotfy confirmed her condition of favourite as well, and won in Female Kumite -61kg after beating fellow compatriot Hoda Moshraf in the all-Egypt final. The World champion earned her third gold medal in three appearances this season and showcased her domination in the category.
After suffering bitter experiences in his two last appearances of the season following participation results in the European Championships and in Karate 1-Premier League in Dubai, Italian Star Luigi Busa reemerged and won in Male Kumite -75 Kg after defeating France’s Corentin Seguy. The French Karateka had surprised in semifinals with his victory over Turkey’s Erman Eltemur, who had recently caused waves after beating superstar Rafael Aghayev and earning gold in Karate 1-Premier League in Istanbul.
Rising Karatekas put Karate Stars on a bind
In Female Kumite -55kg, Egypt’s Rousfelt Randa became one of the attention-grabbers of the event after her startling triumph in the category. The Egyptian athlete shocked with her victory over World and European champion Sara Cardin of Italy in the first bout of the competition. The Italian Karate Star recovered from the defeat to win bronze while Randa beat Cristina Ferrer in the final to complete a remarkable participation.
Cardin was not the only defending World champion in trouble. France’s Alizee Agier could not confirm her status of World Championships gold medallist in Female Kumite -68 kg and was defeated by Spain’s Cristina Vizcaino. The young Spaniard went to win gold at home ground while Agier regained her poise to claim bronze.
In Male Kata, European champion and main front-runner of the category Damian Quintero was also unable to shine in front of the local fans and was defeated by Morocco’s Bilal Benkacem in his second bout of the day. The Spanish Karate Star, who had earned medals in five out of his six appearances this season went home empty-handed in individual category, but led Spain to win gold in Male Team Kata.
The list of winners in Toledo is completed with Masa Vidic of Croatia in Female Kumite +68kg, Marko Antic of Serbia in Male Kumite -60kg, Steven Dacosta of France in Male Kumite -67kg and Nuno Moreira of Portugal in Male Kumite -84kg.