The Karate competition of the 2023 European Games concluded Friday with a showcase of the thrills and values of the sport. Irina Zaretska and continental champions Reem Khamis, Johanna Kneerr and Andrii Zaplitnyi were among the new heroes of the sport being crowned in Poland.
REEM KHAMIS WINS BACK-TO-BACK EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS AND EUROPEAN GAMES
Germany’s Reem Khamis took the crown of Female Kumite -61kg and added the European Games title to her gold at the European Championships. Khamis defeated Anita Serogina of Ukraine (2-2).
Both competitors engaged in a highly technical bout, with the clash finishing 2-2. As the German athlete maintained “Senshuu” or first unopposed point, she was declared the winner and new champion of the European Games.
ANDRII ZAPLITNYI TAKES SECOND GOLD FOR UKRAINE
After Anzhelika Terliuga’s triumph on the first day, Andrii Zaplitnyi won the second title for Ukraine following a hard-fought victory in Male Kumite -75kg. The defending continental champion upset Daniele De Vivo of Italy in the final 3-3.
The bout was extremely tight, but a late “Yuko” by the Ukrainian athlete, in the very last second of the match sent the clash to a final tie. The winner was declared by “Hantei” or decision, thus giving Zaplitnyi the continental and European Games crowns.
IRINA ZARETSKA WINS CLASH OF OLYMPIANS IN FEMALE KUMITE -68KG
One of the most thrilling rivalries of today’s Karate has Elena Quirici of Switzerland and Irina Zaretska of Azerbaijan meeting in final after final. The 2023 European Games were no exception, and this time, Irina Zaretska took the title of Female Kumite -68kg after defeating long-time rival Elena Quirici 4-1.
Both competitors had managed to score a “Yuko” or one-point technique. When the clash seemed to be going to “Hantei”, World Champion Zaretska scored an outstanding “Ippon” of three-point technique by “Uramawashi Geri” or hook kick, with the time almost up. In this spectacular fashion, Zaretska increases her outstanding list of honours of 12 golds in Karate 1-Premier League, one continental title and two World Championships.
ALVIN KARAQI SURPRISES IN MALE KUMITE -84KG
Alvin Karaqi of Albania became the champion of Male Kumite -84kg after surprising the favourites in the category. The number 66 in the World Ranking defeated Brian Timmermans of the Netherlands by a slim 3-2.
Timmermans scored a “Waza-Ari” or two-point technique but Karaqi, who had never won a main international title up to this moment, took three “Yuko” or one-point technique to bring the first gold for Albania.
JOHANNA KNEER COMPLETES GOLDEN DAY FOR GERMANY
Johanna Kneer completed teammate Reem Khamis’ success and won the second gold of the day for Germany after taking the title in Female Kumite +68kg. Kneer used her status as current continental champion to win the crown of the category following a 5-5 (Senshuu) victory over Clio Ferracuti of Italy.
A late “Ippon” or three-point technique gave Kneer the lead in the bout. Ferracuti fought back and tied the match after scoring a “Waza-Ari” in the last seconds of the bout. However, the “Senshuu” or first unopposed point advantage gave Kneer the title.
ANDJELO KVESIC CLAIMS GOLD IN MALE KUMITE +84KG
The title in Male Kumite +84kg was claimed by Andjelo Kvesic of Croatia who was declared the winner following a “Shikkaku” or disqualification to the finalist Fatih Sen of Turkiye. Kvesic had overpowered his rival in the final but a disqualification to Sen confirmed Kvesic as the winner. It is one more title for Kvesic who won bronze at the European Championships this year.
Relive all the competition on europeangames.tv