Karateka Ryo Kiyuna clinched his third consecutive world crown in the kata division for men at the world championships in Madrid on Saturday.
All flags went Kiyuna’s way in the final at the WiZink Center sports hall, giving him a 5-0 victory over Spain’s Damian Quintero in the solo performance event where athletes demonstrate choreographed sequences of karate techniques.
“I am very happy for this victory,” Kiyuna said according to WKF.net. “I have competed with Damian many times over, so I knew that I had to give my best in order to get the title.
“I have worked very hard to be here, and I am very pleased to have won because this tournament is crucial for the (2020 Tokyo) Olympic qualification.”
Karate will make its Olympic Games debut in Tokyo, and the 28-year-old Kiyuna is likely to be one of the host nation’s top gold medal prospects.
In the women’s competition, Miho Miyahara upset Turkish favorite Serap Ozcelik in the 50-kilogram kumite, or sparring, class. The 22-year-old triumphed 3-1 to win her first gold at the worlds.
But her compatriot Kiyou Shimizu, 24, failed to claim her third straight gold in the women’s kata division, succumbing to Spain’s Sandra Sanchez 3-2.