The first day of the Karate competition at the 2023 European Games crowned the new heroes of the sport in the continent after a thrilling showcase of the values of Karate. Olympians Damian Quintero, Bettina Plank, Eray Samdan, and Anzhelika Terliuga were among the big winners of a memorable day.
DAMIAN QUINTERO WINS THIRD EUROPEAN GAMES TITLE
Spain’s Damian Quintero made history for the sport after claiming his third gold medal at the European Games. The winner of Male Kata in Baku 2015 and Minsk 2019 perpetuated his domination of the category with the crown in Krakow-Malopolska 2023 thus becoming the only champion of the division in the history of the European Games.
The current European Championships titleholder and World Championships runner-up defeated Ali Sofuoglu of Turkiye in the final with scores of 44.60 to 44.10.
PAOLA GARCIA LOZANO CONFIRMS SPAIN’S DOMINATION IN KATA
In a showcase of their supremacy in Kata, Spain completed an impressive performance in the division with the title of Female Kata. Paola Garcia Lozano became the new champion of the category and added the crown in the European Games to her victory in the last European Championships.
The 17-year-old karateka defeated Helvetia Taily of France with scores of 43.92 to 41.20 in a repetition of the final of the last edition of the European Championships
SECOND CONSECUTIVE CROWN FOR BETTINA PLANK
Austria’s Bettina Plank confirmed her status as one of the best competitors in the world in Female Kumite -50kg. The nine-time Karate 1-Premier League gold medallist defeated Erminia Perfetto of Italy 1-0 in a highly technical bout and became the new queen of the category in Europe.
A “Yuko” was all the Olympic Games bronze medallist needed to claim the crown. It is the second consecutive European Games gold medal for the Austrian star who also took the title in Minsk 2019.
ERAY SAMDAN CLAIMS GOLD IN THRILLING FINAL
The title-deciding bout of Male Kumite -60kg was a gripping representation of the thrills of Karate as the title was decided by “Hantei” or decision and by the final vote of the main referee. The crown was taken by Eray Samdan of Turkiye who added the title of the European Games to his silver medal at the Olympic Games.
The final bout saw Samdan clashing against Christos Stefanos Xenos of Greece. In a rollercoaster of techniques, the match ended 2-2. The decision of the judges was also tied 2-2 so it all came to the main referee who proclaimed Samdan as the new champion of the category.
ANZHELIKA TERLIUGA WINS CLASH OF TITANS
The true “Clash of Titans” of the day had Olympians Anzhelika Terliuga of Ukraine and Ivet Goranova of Bulgaria fighting for the title of Female Kumite -55kg. The bout relived the final of the Olympic Games, as the two competitors met for the Olympic gold with the victory going to Goranova.
This time the title travelled to Ukraine since Anzhelika Terliuga managed to avenge the defeat in Tokyo 2020 with a demonstration of offensive Karate. The number one in the WKF World ranking beat the Olympic champion 2-0 after connecting a “Waza-Ari” or two-point technique. It is one more recognition for the three-time continental champion and 15-time Karate 1-Premier League winner.
TURAL AGHALARZADA SURPRISES IN MALE KUMITE -67KG
The title of Male Kumite -67kg was claimed by Tural Aghalarzada of Azerbaijan who surprised the favourites and became the new rising star of the division. The current European Championships bronze medallist upset Dionysios Xenos of Greece in a tight bout 0-0.
As the bout ended scoreless, the winner was declared by “Hantei” or decision of the judges.
The full competition is available by streaming LIVE on europeangames.tv