New kings and queens of European Karate crowned in thrilling third day of #EuroKarate2017Favourites and top karatekas emerged victorious on the third day of competition at the 2017 Karate European Championships). While local heroes carried the flag of the host country to the top of the podium three times, Luigi Busa, Anne…

New kings and queens of European Karate crowned in thrilling third day of #EuroKarate2017

New kings and queens of European Karate crowned in thrilling third day of #EuroKarate2017
Favourites and top karatekas emerged victorious on the third day of competition at the 2017 Karate European Championships). While local heroes carried the flag of the host country to the top of the podium three times, Luigi Busa, Anne Laure Florentin, Damian Quintero, Sandra Sanchez, Ukrainian karatekas and Alisa Buchinger were among the big stars of the day.
“It was very difficult for me at the beginning of the tournament but now I am very happy that it all went so good, and the final was just perfect”, said Austria’s Alisa Buchinger.
The defending World Champion won back-to-back titles to extend her domination in Female Kumite -68kg. In one of the highlights of the day, the 24 year-old Shotokan karateka presented a sensational performance to defeat 2014 World champion Alizee Agier of France by 5-1 thus improving the second position she achieved last year.
Meanwhile, Luigi Busa confirmed his star status by earning gold in Male Kumite -75kg. The Italian World Championships bronze medallist defeated Ukraine’s Stanislav Horuna in one of the most gripping moments of the morning session. Busa had taken the lead after scoring a yuko and a waza-ari, but Horuna came back and tied the bout with an outstanding ippon after completing a spectacular uramawashi geri kick. However, Luis Busa got the victory by senshuu, or first-scoring rule.

“It is such a proud moment for me to have gotten this great result and I just can say that I am super happy,” said Italy’s Luigi Busa.
Busa’s gold was not the only Italian success story of the day. Simone Marino won gold in Male Kumite +84kg so to put Italy in the second position of the medal table following hosts Turkey. The 20 year-old from Firenze Marino defeated local hero Enes Erkan after scoring two consecutive waza-ari, much to the disappointment of the full sport hall in Izmit cheering for the captain of the Turkish team.
“I have waited all my life for this moment. It is an indescribable emotion and I want to thank all those who helped me so much because I am finally taking home the European Championships”, said Italy’s Simone Marino.
France’s Anne Laure Florentin took the spotlight by winning her second European title in a row. The 25 year-old karateka had prevailed in the Female Kumite +68kg category last year at home in Montpellier, and now in Kocaeli the Shotokan athlete confirmed her domination by defeating local karateka Meltem Hocaoglu.
“I am really happy that I could win today and that I could get this title for France. I have won two European Championships in two consecutive finals so I am extremely happy,” commented France’s Anne Laure Florentin.

Despite defeats in four finals today, including Female Team Kumite, Turkish fans had reasons to celebrate since the flag of the host country waved three times at the top of the podium. Ugus Aktas and Burak Uygur in Male Kumite -84kg and Male Kumite -67kg respectively and Tuba Yakan in Female Kumite -55kg took good use of the opportunity to shine at home.
“I won gold medal in front of my family, in my city, I am very happy. I was European champion last year and I did it again and I am so happy for it,” declared Ugus Aktas after his victory. The 21 year-old karateka beat Berat Yakupi of FYR of Macedonia and repeated the triumph he achieved last year in Montpellier.
One of the most emotional moments of the day occurred when Tuba Yakan earned gold at Female Kumite -55kg category. Tears poured down the face of the 26 year-old karateka as she defeated Karate Star Sara Cardin with a waza-ari. His husband, kata ace Mehmet Yakan, and newborn daughter were ready to greet her as the Turkish heroine regained the European crown while the full Sehit Recep Topaloglu arena gave her a standing ovation.
“I have to thank all those here today for their support. I won the European title again after doing it in 2013 and I could not have done it without the help of so many people,” commented Turkey’s Tuba Yakan.
In the third gold for Turkey, Burak Uygur defeated Russia’s Alexandr Gutnik after connecting an impressive mawashi geri kick that earned him an ippon and ultimately the continental crown.
“I am having a great time, it is very nice. It was difficult but I have done it. Amazing atmosphere here, thank you everybody!” commented Uygur.

The individual Kata categories continued being monopolised by Spanish representatives. Just as it occurred last year in Montpellier, Sandra Sanchez and Damian Quintero claimed the two top spots on the final podium.
Sandra Sanchez of Spain extended her domination in Female Kata competition, as the continental champion in the 2016 and 2015 editions of the tournament achieved her third consecutive crown following her victory over Italy’s Viviana Bottaro. The 35 year-old World Ranking leader performed a flawless “Papporen” kata so to keep reigning in the category of choreographed movements.
“I am super thrilled for being again on top of the podium and for showing that all the hard work appears when you are on the tatami. I am glad that I could confirm that I am here, that I am working hard to win these championships and I hope to keep representing Spain for a long time!”, declared Sanchez.
With four gold medals in European Championships, Spain’s Damian Quintero proved right his nickname of “KingTero” and ruled the Male Kata category. Despite the support from the stands for his rival Turkish ace Ali Sofouglu, Quintero performed an exceptional “Chatanyara Kushanku” kata to claim his eight gold medal in continental championships, both in individual and team competitions.
“I am really happy for this new gold medal. My participation has been good, with some katas better than others. In the final bout I felt great, but you could feel the pressure here in Turkey, with the audience obviously supporting the local karateka. The tight result is good enough for me, you don’t always have to win 5-0!”, said Quintero.

Serbia’s Jovana Prekovic produced one of the biggest shocks of the day since the first-time continental finalist defeated favourite and current World Championships silver medallist Lucie Ignace of France in Female Kumite -61kg. After finding herself 2-1 down in the scoreboard, Prekovic got an impressive late ippon to earn the gold medal.
Meanwhile, Kalvis Kalnins of Latvia used experience in his favour and took advantage of his first continental final in five years to defeat Marko Antic of Serbia so to claim gold in Male Kumite -60kg.
“My last final was in 2012 and it was very hard for me because I thought about stopping Karate after that. But after some years, I really wanted to win gold medal and this time I won,” said Kalnins.
In Female Kumite -50kg, Ukraine’s Kateryna Kryva claimed the throne of the category after defeating Duygu Bugur of Germany in a disputed final. The 25 year-old also was one of the stars of the day since in addition to earning gold in individual category, the 2016 Grand Winner also contributed to Ukraine’s victory in Female Team Kumite. These two gold medals, in addition to one silver and two bronzes place Ukraine in third place of the medal table and as one of the sensations of the tournament.
“I am so happy and I cannot believe what’s happened here. I am extremely happy for me, for my coach, for my team. There are no words to describe what I lived here today, only emotions. It’s crazy,” said the two-time gold medallist in this tournament Kryva.
Action will continue on Sunday with the final day of competition in Kocaeli.

Click here for more information on the EKF European Championships.
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