The tremendous impact of Karate at young ages was highlighted this past weekend in Zagreb (Croatia) at the 2023 European Universities Championships in Combat Sports. The Karate competition put promising stars of the sport in the spotlight and concluded with Turkiye topping the final medal table.
The powerhouse nation of the sport claimed nine medals, including four golds. Ukraine with 15 medals and two golds and hosts of Croatia with eight medals and two golds also presented deserving performances.
Turkiye’s domination started in Male Kata as Kutluhan Duran won the title after beating Vladimir Mijac of Montenegro, with scores of 41.7 to 41.1.
The second gold for the Turkish delegation was claimed by Fatih Sen who upset local hopeful Karlo Raguz of Croatia in Male Kumite +84kg (7-3).
Meanwhile, Burak Ozdemir prevailed in Male Kumite -60kg following a 4-0 victory over Yurii Mosiichuk of Ukraine.
The representatives of the powerhouse nation completed their impressive performance with the gold in Male Team Kata, as Istanbul Aydin University defeated Great Britain’s University of Nottingham 42.9 to 39.7.
Ukraine’s delegation also had reasons to celebrate with two gold medals. Vladyslav Shveda won the All-Ukrainian final of Male Kumite -67kg over teammate Valentyn Naida (6-2).
The second crown for Ukraine was taken by Liliia Yushyna in Female Kumite -55kg. The Ukrainian karateka beat Italy’s Syria Mancinelli 6-2.
The host nation of Croatia completed an impressive performance at home and saw two competitors taking the flag of the organising nation to the top of the podium. Ema Sgardelli used the favourite status to claim the title in Female Kumite -50kg after defeating Turkiye’s Dicle Beyazit 6-0 while the Female Kumite Team of the University of Rijeka defeated the South Ukrainian National Pedagogic 2-1.
Spain’s University of Valencia took the crown of Female Team Kata over the University of Porto in Portugal 42.0 to 41.1 as Portugal’s Natacha Fernandes won the title of Female Kata over Hungary’s Vanda Toth 41.6 to 39.1.
In Kumite Male -75kg, Petar Zaborski of North Macedonia took the crown after beating Ukraine’s Kostiantyn Yanenko 2-0, the first title for the Balkan country, the second being the crown in Male Team Kumite by St Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje with their triumph over Ukraine’s Kharkiv State Academy of Physical Culture.
Montenegro’s Nikola Malovic’s victory in Male Kumite -84kg (10-0 over Julian Enrik Smoliga of Slovakia), Cyprus’ Theodosia Giamouki’s triumph in Female Kumite +68kg and frontrunner Reem Khamis’s domination in Female Kumite -61kg (6-0 over Ukraine’s Natalia Osadchuk) completed the list of gold medallists in Croatia.
PHOTO: EUSA Combat 2023