Friday,20 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1318, (3 - 9 November 2016)
Friday,20 July, 2018
Issue 1318, (3 - 9 November 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Gold star 

Thanks to a podium-winning performance, the Egyptian karate team finished fourth in the 23rd World Championships held in Linz, Austria, Abeer Anwar reports

Salma Alaaeddin
Salma Alaaeddin
Al-Ahram Weekly

Egypt came fourth in the World Karate Championship after collecting one gold, two silver and two bronze medals. Japan was first, followed by France and Iran. 

Giana Farouk, who won the gold medal for Egypt for the second time in a world championship, was dominating, confirming her status as one of karate’s biggest stars. She earned her second consecutive gold medal in the World Championships after beating Lucie Ignace of France in the final of the female Kumite -61kg. The Egyptian star extended her impressive list of awards and increased her outstanding count of victories to reach the top of the podium. The two-time world champion has not lost a bout in over two years and has claimed gold or silver medals in all her appearances in major international events since 2013. Her victory in the 2016 World Championships crowns Farouk as one of the most sensational athletes of today’s karate.

She was followed by teammate Omar Abdel-Rahman in the under 75kg who collected the silver medal after losing the final match to Azerbaijan’s world champion in the final. Abdel-Rahman had beaten an Israeli 2-0 en route. “Thank God I was able to collect the silver medal and second place. I am very happy with this achievement and I thank all who stood by my side on my way towards the podium,” Abdel-Rahman said.

Sarah Assem, his kata teammate, followed with a silver medal in the individual kata. Assem joined the trip to Linz only after her teammate became injured just a week before the competition to be lucky enough to collect her first medal in a world championship.

Egypt’s two bronze medals came through Radwa Sayed in the 50kg weight category while the second was collected by the women’s Kumite team.  

After the imposing culmination of the blind/visually impaired and intellectually impaired categories  karate fans from all around the world had the opportunity to witness once more the striking abilities of the participants who dazzled with their katas. The gold medals were claimed by Skender Tosic of Slovenia and Knarik Airapetian of the Ukraine while Egypt’s Salma Alaaeddin collected the bronze medal in the kata event for the intellectually disabled. Alaaeddin is a world champion as she collected the gold in the previous world championship.

Outstanding victories by both male and female teams helped Japan finish the 2016 Karate World Championships in first position in the final standings of the thrilling five-day competition held in Linz, thus confirming the domination of the birth nation of the ancient discipline. 

Once all the medals were allocated, it was the moment to honour the biggest stars of the memorable event. The Most Valuable Players in all six major categories of the competition were named to revere the karatekas who had fascinated during the tournament.

The MVP award for Male Kumite went to karate’s biggest star Rafael Aghayev. The Azerbaijani hero won his fifth world title in Linz to extend one of karate’s most epic careers. In Female Kumite, Austria’s Alisa Buchinger was named MVP of the competition after taking the organising country to a well-deserved gold medal. The Salzburg-native completed a perfect competition and caused a sensation with her victories in the host nation.

Ryo Kiyuna of Japan received the MVP of the Male Kata category thus rounding off a dream tournament. With two gold medals to account for, Kiyuna demonstrated to be kata’s king in Linz. Also acting as two-time world champion, Kiyou Shimizu of Japan was honoured as Female Kata most outstanding competitor.

The 22-year-old karateka stated her domination in the category after a memorable quest to glory. Para-karate athletes were also recognised in Linz, and two of their top competitors were awarded with the MVP honour. The Male Para-Karate MVP award went to Raymond Morcomb while the Female Para-Karate MVP award was earned by Knarik Airapetian of Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Antonio Espinós was re-elected president of the World Karate Federation at the 2016 WKF Congress in Linz. Espinós, who was first elected in 1998, stood unopposed for re-election to the WKF presidency from 2016-2022 after receiving the unanimous support for his candidacy from all segments of the sport. Seventy-nine delegates out of a total of 82 representatives with voting rights approved by secret vote the re-election of Espinós by vast majority at the Congress being held in the Austrian city in the day ahead of the start of the world championships.

Espinós said: “It is an honour for me to have received such a full support to keep on contributing to take karate to even greater heights. We are ready to see our life-long dream of karate into the Olympics coming true, and our core values of tradition, universality and progress are stronger than ever. We will work together so karate can continue inspiring millions all around the world.”
Under his pioneering leadership, karate has not only achieved unprecedented worldwide growth, but the sport also accomplished the historic milestone of being included in the programme of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Following the proposal by the Executive Committee, the WKF Congress approved by acclamation the designation of Japan Karate President Takashi Sasagawa as WKF Honorary President. Competing under the WKF flag and mentored by a WKF appointed coach, a group of victims of the humanitarian crisis of refugees made their dream of participating in the Karate World Championships come true this week. “I am very happy for this experience and for having the opportunity to be here,” said Mohannad Al Ali, a member of the refugee team. “For us karate became the only way to fight, the only way to escape our situation, so for karatekas like me being here is an experience that I will never forget,” said the athlete who competed in the Male Kumite -60kg category.”Maybe we lost, maybe we won, that is not important. Just being here it is what counts. We need the time to have an experience like this, so I just can say that being here, being part of this event improved our lives,” Al Ali told the press.

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