The 2023 EKF Cadet, Junior & U21 Championships concluded today in Larnaca (Cyprus). Spain topped the final medal table of the event.
ENES OZDEMIR LEADS NEW HOST OF CONTINENTAL CHAMPIONS IN KATA
Powerhouse nation of Turkiye started the day on a high note as Mustafa Akgul became the champion of Cadet Kata Male. The promising Turkish karateka defeated Luigi Di Rubba of Italy by 42.1 to 40.6.
The second title for Turkiye came in U21 Kata Male. Enes Ozdemir confirmed the predictions and won his third underage continental crown after edging Alessio Ghinami of Italy in the final 43.2 to 42.4.
Germany also started their impressive medal count with the title in the first final of the day. Shirley Jay defeated Roberta Dominici of Italy in the clash for gold of Cadet Kata Female by a slim 41.9 to 41.7.
Spain’s traditional success in Kata was extended to underage categories with the two gold medals in Junior divisions. Paola Garcia Lozano of Spain beat Rebeca Mrazova of Slovakia in the final of Junior Kata Female with scores of 43.7 to 40.8 while Ivan Martin followed suit with a convincing victory of 42.3 to 41.6 over William Tran of Sweden in Junior Kata Male.
After losing their two first finals, Italy bounced back and claimed the title of U21 Kata Female. Elena Roversi took the crown following a convincing 41.3 to 39.8 victory over Chiara Manca of Belgium.
The titles in Female and Male Cadet and Junior Team Kata went to Portugal and Spain respectively.
TWO GOLDS FOR UKRAINE AND SLOVAKIA IN CADET KUMITE
Ukraine claimed two gold medals in Cadet divisions. Dariia Bulay beat Amalie Hakova of the Czech Republic in Cadet Kumite Female +61kg (1-0) and Hela Kiria of Ukraine upset Robin Mateo Zuniga of Germany in Cadet Kumite Male -70kg by “Hantei” or decision (0-0).
Italy added its second medal of the day in Cadet Kumite Female -47kg. Ludovica Legittimo defeated Emily-Chiara Drehmann of Germany 2-1.
Spain increased their list of honours with Julia Just’s triumph in Cadet Kumite Female -61kg. The promising Spaniard defeated Maria-Antonia Zamantza of Greece (1-0)
After taking the title last year in Prague Matt Rombeaux of Belgium won back-to-back continental crowns following a slim 1-0 victory over Lovro Maslov of Croatia in Cadet Kumite Male -52kg.
In one of the most thrilling finals of the day, Benjamin Packwood of Scotland became the continental titleholder in Cadet Kumite Male -63kg after defeating Rayan Zoueini of Belgium 5-4.
The Female Cadet divisions were completed with Slovakia’s Alexandra Zeumerova’s victory over Gulay Orujova of Azerbaijan in Cadet Kumite Female -54kg (4-3).
Meanwhile, the Male Cadet categories were wrapped up with Hungary’s Mate Toth’s slim 2-1 victory over Ali Arnautovic of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Cadet Kumite Male -57kg and Slovakia’s Lukas Bohunicky’s tight triumph over Samuele Burrosi of Italy in Cadet Kumite Male +70kg (Hantei 3-3).
AZERBAIJAN ATHLETES HEAD GOLD MEDAL COUNT IN JUNIOR KUMITE
Traditionally a major powerhouse of the sport, Azerbaijan claimed the title of Junior Kumite Female -59kg as Aysu Aliyeva took a 2-0 victory over Aleksandra Davidova of Latvia.
The second crown for Azerbaijan was achieved in Junior Kumite Male -55kg with Farid Savadov defeating Aleksandr Capmoale of Moldova 2-0.
Germany’s impressive performance continued in Junior divisions. Sidney-Michelle Ott claimed the title in Junior Kumite Female -48kg after beating Sasha Vielle of France 3-2.
Italy improved their medal count with the gold in Junior Kumite Female +66kg. Asia Pergolesi claimed a slim 1-0 victory over Yuliia Krot of Ukraine.
Guilherme Goncalves of Portugal caused the big upset of the day as he defeated local promising star Stavor Charalambides of Cyprus in Junior Kumite Male -68kg. In a highly technical bout, Goncalves took the title by “Hantei” or decision (0-0)
Spain won their fourth title as Alejandro Jimenez Díaz of Spain edged Yusuf Eren Temizel of Turkiye by a slim 1-0 in Junior Kumite Male +76kg.
France’s Amel Souidi’s victory in Junior Kumite Female -53kg over Buse Kilic of Turkiye by “Hantei” or decision (0-0), Serbia’s Dunja Rajic’s gold medal in Junior Kumite Female -66kg (4-3 over Anna Pia Desiderio of Italy), Georgia’s Uta Poniava’s 1-0 victory over Dominik Dziuda of Poland in Junior Kumite -61kg and the Netherlands’ Ricardo Franken’s upset in Junior Kumite Male -76kg over Suleyman Aydemir of Turkiye 1-0 became the rest of the new European champions in Junior divisions.
GOLD FOR GRAND WINNER AMINAGHA GULIYEV
Grand Winner Aminagha Guliyev of Azerbaijan used his status of the Best of the Best of the category to add the U21 continental title to his growing list of recognitions. In one of the most contested clashes of the day, the new Grand Winner defeated Anass Abdelmalki of Belgium in the final of U21 Kumite Male -60kg (8-4).
Adding the continental title to the silver medal in Karate 1-Premier League Cairo last week, Daniele De Vivo of Italy became the U21 European champion in U21 Male Kumite -75kg. The Italian ace took a convincing victory over Adrien Marques of France 6-0.
The Italian delegation increased their titles in U21 divisions since Matteo Avanzini of Italy achieved an impressive 6-3 triumph over Anes Bostandzic of Bosnia and Herzegovina in U21 Kumite Male +84kg, with an Ippon in the last second included.
France’s second gold came in U21 Kumite Female -55kg. Assma Charif added the U21 continental title to the Junior World Championships she claimed in 2019 following a 4-2 victory over Ema Sgardelli of Croatia.
Konstantina Chrysopoulou of Greece won the title in U21 after defeating Reem Khamis of Germany in the final of U21 Female Kumite -61kg.
Meanwhile, in U21 Female Kumite -68kg, Elina Sieliemienieva of Ukraine confirmed the predictions and took the continental title. The Ukrainian karateka had won the title last year in Prague thus extending her domination of the category following a slim 2-1 victory over Sofia Ferrarini of Italy.
The second title for Ukraine in the category was claimed by Maksym Buhaiov in U21 Kumite Male -84kg. The Ukrainian karateka defeated Alexandre Martins Nunes of France 4-2
Spain won one more gold with Marta Pascual’s demonstration in the final of U21 Female Kumite +68kg. The Spaniard claimed a convincing 10-2 triumph over Dijana Bota of Serbia.
The list of gold medallists in U21 Kumite is completed with Nejra Sipovic of Bosnia and Herzegovina who beat Natalia Osadchuk of Ukraine 6-3 in U21 Female Kumite -55kg and Ika Sulamanidze of Georgia who upset Tan Markus Ojala of Estonia 3-1 in U21 Kumite Male -67kg.
The next edition of the age-group European Championships will be held in 2024 in Georgia.