Spain’s Sandra Sanchez was declared The World Games Athlete of the Day. The Olympic, World, and European champion won the gold medal at The World Games, one final accolade before announcing her retirement from international competition.
As the Kata Queen was proclaimed the big winner of the Female Kata competition at The World Games after dominating the event in Birmingham. Following her outstanding performance, she was announced the Athlete of the Day of all the sports at The World Games.
“It was the last award missing! I really wanted to get gold at The World Games, and I finally could do it here, at my last event,” Sanchez said.
Sandra Sanchez, together with Miguel Becerra of Mexico from Archery were both designated The World Games Athlete of the Day on Saturday and received recognition at TWG Plaza in Birmingham.
“Everything that I had planned worked out perfectly for me. I leave with the feeling that I left my heart and soul on the tatami,” she mentioned after winning the title of the event.
One of the most decorated athletes in the history of the sport, Sanchez announced her retirement from international competition after winning the World title for the second time in Dubai last year, the European crown for the seventh time this year in Gaziantep, the Olympic Games in Tokyo, and The World Games for the first time in Birmingham.
The Karate competition of The World Games concluded Saturday with the final day of action from Birmingham. In a thrilling showcase of the many values of the sport, new Karate heroes Anita Serogina of Ukraine, Abdalla Abdelaziz of Egypt, Silvia Semeraro of Italy, Youssef Badawy of Egypt, Sofya Berultseva of Kazakhstan, and Babacar Seck Sakho of Spain were crowned today.
ANITA SEROGINA STRIKES BACK
The final of Female Kumite -61kg was a repetition of the title-deciding bout from 2017 with both Alexandra Grande of Peru and Anita Serogina of Ukraine fighting for gold. At the event in Poland, the victory went to Peru but this time, Serogina avenged her defeat five years ago as she claimed a hard-fought victory 3-2.
Serogina was down on the scoreboard but managed to strike a final point to win her first crown of The World Games.
Sandra Sanchez won the gold medal in Kata on Day 1 of The World Games. It was the perfect farewell for one of the best Karate athletes in the history of the sport who announced that she will retire from international competition after the tournament in Birmingham.
“I am feeling a mix of feeling right now,” she said after winning the title. “I am sad because this is my last competition, but I am also happy because of all that I have accomplished.”
“I have achieved all that I put my mind into. I could not possibly ask for more from life.”
As the current World, European, and Olympic titleholder, Sanchez has dominated the Kata competition over the last few years with such supremacy that she has claimed 13 consecutive gold medals in her last 13 international appearances.
She owns the triple crown, as she prevailed in the last editions of the European and World Championships, as well as winning the celebrated gold in the Olympic Games. Sanchez is also the undisputed WKF World Ranking leader and the Grand Winner of the category.
The only top award missing in her career was The World Games.
In Birmingham, she topped the preliminary pool after claiming convincing victories over Alexandrea Anacan of New Zealand, Jasmin Juettner of Germany, and Carola Casale of Italy.
“I felt really well on the tatami. Everything that I had planned worked out perfectly for me,” she said of her performance in Birmingham. “I leave with the feeling that I left my heart and soul on the tatami.”
In the semi-finals, Sanchez defeated Olympic Games bronze medallist Mo Sheung Grace Lau of Hong Kong. In a repetition of the final of the last edition of the World Championships, the Spanish Kata Queen beat Hikaru Ono of Japan in the title-deciding bout.
Her last goal was finally achieved.
“It was the last one missing!” she joked. “I really wanted to get gold at The World Games and I finally could do it here, at my last event,” added the Spaniard who won silver at the 2017 edition of The World Games in Poland.
After her gold in Birmingham, she put the golden finishing touch to one of the most successful careers in the history of the sport.
She is not only one of the most popular female athletes in her country. She is one of the most celebrated Karate athletes in the world and her tremendous legacy will live on for years to come.
The massive tournament gathered over 1800 youngsters from 52 countries and was a true celebration of the popularity of the sport in young ages.
No less than nine delegations went home with gold medals in Cadet categories, with Ukrainian representatives dominating the competition with two titles. Nazarii Prannychuk in Cadet Kumite Male -57kg and Dariia Bulai in Cadet Kumite Female +54kg took the crowns for Ukraine.
The list of gold medallists in cadet divisions was completed with Mai-Linh Bui of France in Cadet Kata Female, Nicolas Modi of Romania in Cadet Kata Male, Ili Hellen of Germany in Cadet Kumite Female -47kg, Jovana Damjanovic of Montenegro in Cadet Kumite Female -54kg, Alexandr Capmoale of Moldova in Cadet Kumite Male -52kg, Nurakhat Sattursyn of Kazakhstan in Cadet Kumite Male -63kg, Sven Strahija of Croatia in Cadet Kumite Male -70kg, and Omar Metwaly of Egypt in Cadet Kumite +70kg.
Meanwhile, the Junior division was dominated by Egypt with four golds. The African powerhouse nation of the sport prevailed in junior categories with the titles claimed by Aya Damany in Junior Kumite Female -53kg, Mahmoud Elhsn in Junior Kumite Male -68kg, Youssef Farag in Junior Kumite Male -76kg, and Omar Osman in Junior Kumite Male +76kg.
Hosts of Croatia also registered a deserving performance in Junior competition with two golds, which were taken by Nikolina Golombos in Junior Kumite Female +59kg, and Matija Nasteski in Junior Kumite Male -61kg.
The rest of the titles in Junior competition went to Isra Celo of Austria in Junior Kata Female, Anthony Vu of Sweden in Junior Kata Male, Emma Coletti of Italy in Junior Kumite Female -48kg, Emina Sipovic of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Junior Kumite Female -59kg, and Kirill Moskvichyov of Kazakhstan in Junior Kumite Male -55kg.
In U14 categories, the big winners were the representatives of Montenegro and France with two golds each. Sasa Petric in U14 Kata Male, and Una Rakovic in U14 Kumite Female -47kg were the gold medallists for Montenegro while Morgane Scarfone in U14 Kumite Female +47kg, and Lenny Malcoiffe in U14 Kumite Female +55kg took the titles for France.
Karatekas from another six countries went home with gold medals in U14 divisions. Tamara Lehner of Austria won the crown in U14 Kata Female, while Adrianna Meller of Poland in U14 Kumite Female -42kg, Andreas Konradowski of Belgium in U14 Kumite Male -40kg, Christian Dan of Italy in U14 Kumite Male -45kg, Filip Hornak of the Czech Republic in U14 Kumite Male -50kg, and Martin Kvasnica in U14 Junior Kumite Male -55kg complete the list of medallists in Kumite.
The Karate 1-Youth League moves now to Venice (Italy) where the final event of the year will be held from December 9 to 11.
CLICK HERE to go the micro-site of the Karate 1-Youth League Porec.