WROCLAW, POLAND – Reigning world champions Ryo Kiyuna and Kiyou Shimizu won gold in the karate kata division for men and women, respectively, at the World Games on Tuesday.
All flags went Kiyuna’s way for the fifth time of the day in the final at the Gem Sport Complex, giving him a 5-0 victory over Spain’s Damian Quintero in the solo performance event where athletes demonstrate choreographed sequences of karate techniques.
Kiyuna, a two-time world kata champion and five-time national champion, scored unanimous wins in all three preliminary-round matches and the semifinal, after having settled for bronze in his last World Games appearance in 2013.
“I was disappointed when I finished third four years ago so I’m happy to have won for the first time,” said the 27-year-old from Okinawa.
“I take pride as a world champion and I was able to show my kind of karate,” he said.
Later in the day, the 23-year-old Shimizu, who is also a two-time world champion, beat Spain’s Sandra Sanchez Jaime 4-1, raising medal hopes for Japan in the newly adopted Olympic sport.
“I did win but it wasn’t a great performance so I have regrets. My movements were too small. I have to improve my skills,” said Shimizu.
“This is a meaningful meet as a lead-up to the (2020) Tokyo Olympics, and it was a good experience.”
In kumite, or sparring, Miho Miyahara earned a silver medal in the women’s 50-kg division, losing to French opponent Alexandra Recchia 6-4 in the gold medal fight.
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