The second day of action at the 2019 EKF European Karate Championships started with Spain extending their excellent performances in the Kata categories. Just as it happened in the individual tournament, both male and female teams reserved their spots for the title-deciding bouts.
Italian Female Team Kata once again made a performance worthy of the finals. They are defending back to back European titles, while the Spaniards have been waiting for gold since 2017. With the same numbers of points, team Germany and team Turkey proceeded for the bronze medal match where they will meet Portugal and France. Hosts from Croatia were very close to the medal, winning a final 7th place.
The Turkey Male Kata Team went to the finals for the second consecutive time in the European Championship. While they will have a serious task of usurping the Spanish team, Russian Federation and Italy will lead the battle for the bronze. Both of the national teams are current bronze medalists but at the championships in Poreč, this title will belong to only one of them. The other two teams fighting for the bronze are Azerbaijan and Slovakia.
In male Kumite -67kg, Evgeny Plakhutin reserved his ticket for the finals. Russian karateka was a champion at the last European Championships in Spain but in a different category, -60kg. This was his first competition in the -67kg category since 2014, and his first success in it. The first senior breakthrough also included Greek’s karateka, Dionysios Xenos. He will meet Plakhutin in the finals on Saturday. In the semifinal contest, Greek karateka defeated Croatian jewel Boran Berak who was feeling great the whole tournament and will have the opportunity to fight for the bronze on Saturday. Last edition champion Steven Da Costa from France is also trying to get bronze after his fights in the repechage and on this path he’ll meet Burak Uyghur of Turkey.
“Finally, after years of waiting and hard work. Fights for the medals were always so close but I missed them by a hair. The Greek rival in the semifinals was better and deserved to go to the finals. My job is not over yet, I really want to win a bronze medal at home”, pointed out the Croatian national team member.
German Jana Messerschmidt was having a pretty good Premier League appearance lately and she confirmed her good form in this event. The number 5 in the Olympic standings paved her way to earning the ticket to the Games by standings after making it to the last round of the competition in -55kg. The elimination phase was without big troubles for her and after winning the semis against Ilaha Gasimva of Azerbaijan, she will fight for the gold. The second finalist is Russian Anna Chernysheva, current U21 European vice-champion who made a surprise appearance in her first senior competition.
Four-time European Champion and current European bronze medalist in the -50kg Serap Özzçelik Arapoğlu of Turkey is on the road to winning another title. No. 1 ranked world karateka passed Italian Alexandra Recchia in the semifinals and will fight against German Shara Hubrich. After being fifth in the last Europ Karate, Shara got the chance for winning a medal, either silver or gold. Recchia will on Saturday have her opportunity to win the bronze against Italian Ermina Perfetoo while the other fight features Serbian Jelena Milivojević and Ukrainian Kateryna Kryva.
“In Lisbon, at the Karate 1-Premier League I made several mistakes but today I made sure that I didn’t repeat those mistakes. I am happy to be in the final. I hope to win gold on Sunday,” said Serap Ozcelik Arapoglu.
After winning the bronze medal at the European Championships in Spain, Eray Samdan of Turkey will have his first European finals in the -60kg category. Young karateka, also former European and World U21 champion will fight against Latvian Kalvis Kalnins, former European champion in 2017. Fresh off his silver medal in Lisbon, Kalvis Kalnins of Latvia showed strength to qualify for his second consecutive final on the international stage this year.
With each day of the tournament karate excitement in Poreč grows stronger so be sure you don’t miss Day3 of the European Championships. CLICK HERE for the schedule.