Tuesday,18 June, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1367, (2 - 8 November 2017)
Tuesday,18 June, 2019
Issue 1367, (2 - 8 November 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Gold in Tenerife

Egypt’s cadet, junior and under 21 karate teams struck gold at the World Championships in Spain, notching second place after Japan, reports Abeer Anwar

Abdel-Gawad winning an epon against Turkish player
Abdel-Gawad winning an epon against Turkish player

Egypt highlighted its karate supremacy in Africa and the world after producing a sensational performance when its karatekas took second spot in the medals table at the cadet, junior and under 21 World Championships in Tenerife, Spain.

Egypt bagged 15 medals (five gold, three silver and seven bronze) behind Japan, the motherland of karate, which took first place with a total of 18 medals: ten gold, one silver and seven bronze. Tukey finished third place with eleven medals (three gold, three silver and five bronze).

Egypt collected its five gold medals through Reem Salama in the junior female kumite -48kg after defeating Fidan Teymurova of Azerbaijan by a convincing 5-0, followed by teammate Salma Al-Shafei who topped the podium after beating Turkey’s Damla Ocak 2-1 in the junior female kumite -53kg. The Egyptian cadet and junior female team kata did the impossible by winning the gold medal for the first time in the history of Egyptian karate. The girls shocked favourites Spain, winning the final by split decision 3-2 to reach the top of the podium. Hesham Abdel-Gawwad followed suit, defeating Rosario Ruggiero of Italy 3-0 in the junior male kumite -68kg.Ahmed El Masry added the fifth in the U21 -84 kg.

“I am so happy right now. I am very proud to bring this victory to my country. I can’t believe it. Our performance in the final was perfect,” said Salama, while teammate Al-Shafei added: “I feel the greatness of our Egyptian Pharaohs who were able to do the impossible.”

Ayman Abdel-Hamid Farghali, president of the Egyptian Karate Federation, joined the youngsters in their enthusiasm. “I am so proud of all of them. We came here to compete in order to contribute to the success of the World Karate Federation in raising the level of karate. It is great to see karate progressing so much in countries like mine and I hope that we will see Egyptian athletes in Tokyo 2020.”

Egypt’s three silver medals came from the male kata team cadet and junior, Mohamed Salah  and Moemen Mohamed in the -52kg and -67kg kumite U21 and cadet events.

Egypt’s seven bronze medals were collected by the kumite players Menna Shaaban in +59kg, Omar Ashraf in the -76kg, Feryal Abdel Aziz in – 68 kg, Malek Salama in the -60kg,Nourhan Sweidan in individual junior female kata, Mustafa Al-Ghobashi in individual junior male kata and Abdel-Rahman Mohamed in -63kg.

The promising karatekas who were crowned the new world champions emerged as favourites to qualify for Buenos Aires 2018. As the event in Tenerife marks the first big tournament in the race to the Youth Olympic Games, athletes winning gold in the junior categories of the under-age World Championships etched their names in the Argentinean capital next year.

Held simultaneously, delegates at the WKF Extraordinary Congress heard presentations and took decisions on an exciting future for karate, as the sport explores new territories including the debut of the modality on the sports programme of the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires in 2018 and the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020.

“The development of karate has never reached such high levels. We are experiencing a great moment for karate and the progress of our sport is as outstanding as ever before,” said WKF President Antonio Espinos. “However, as you know, my task is not to be complacent but to put a focus on the areas in which we can continue growing,” Espinos added at the opening of the congress in Tenerife.

Delegates from 95 national federations gathered at the WKF Extraordinary Congress to celebrate in the city of the Canary Islands the results of the 2017 world cadet, junior & U-21 Championships. The plenary session of the International Karate Organisation hailed the exciting future for the sport. 

“Only a few years later after the celebration of the Congress in Bremen, no one could imagine that in just three years we could achieve such a level of success. Let’s keep improving and working hard. If we continue working as hard as we are doing now, we will leave a memorable legacy to future generations and we will be able to keep taking our sport to new levels,” Espinos said.

Among the various items on the schedule, reports on the qualification system and several issues regarding karate’s debut in Buenos Aires 2018 and Tokyo 2020 were presented. As a result of the new landscape of karate as an Olympic sport, the Olympic Solidarity Programme was introduced to national federations.  

Following the initial decision by WKF’s Executive Committee, the congress decided to give the WKF honourary membership in the IOC. The decision was taken in appreciation of karate and the cooperation and affection received by Japan National Olympic Committee President Tsunekazu Takeda.

The 2018 Karate1 was also introduced. The modernisation of karate’s flagship event and many subsequent innovations were introduced. The new edition of the first-class series of events will have seven tournaments for the 2018 Karate1-Premier League, while the Karate1-Series A will have four events. Next year will see the launching of a new format of the competition, the Karate1-Youth League. The newly created tournament, directed at the under 14, junior and cadet categories will have four events next year. 

The 2018 World Championships were also presented. The 24th edition of karate’s top event will be celebrated in November 2018 in Madrid. The tournament is set to become one of the biggest karate events in the history of the sport.

The congress also approved the 2018 competition calendar. A year full of thrilling events and plenty of opportunities to showcase karate’s showmanship await fans of the sport around the world.

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