• Kyodo

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Japan’s Kiyou Shimizu claimed a silver medal in karate’s debut at the Tokyo Olympics on Thursday, finishing behind Sandra Sanchez Jaime of Spain in the kata final.

At Nippon Budokan, known as the spiritual home of Japanese martial arts, Shimizu scored 27.88 points to finish 0.18 point behind the Spanish reigning world champion in the event in which athletes compete to execute a series of movements more proficiently than their opponents.

In the event, karateka perform kata that consists of offensive and defensive movements targeting a nonexistent opponent. They are scored based on their technical and athletic performance.

The other competition, kumite, features three-minute bouts and is divided into three weight classes for both men and women.

Karate, a combat sport that originated in Okinawa, was added to the Olympic program for the first time following proposals by the Japanese organizers, along with skateboarding, sports climbing and surfing.

While the other newly introduced sports will be contested at the next Summer Olympics in 2024, karate was dropped from the program, making the Tokyo Games possibly the only time the sport is showcased at the Olympics. It will be replaced by breakdancing in Paris.

Kiyou Shimizu of Japan performs in the women's kata event on Thursday at Tokyo's Nippon Budokan. | REUTERS
Kiyou Shimizu of Japan performs in the women’s kata event on Thursday at Tokyo’s Nippon Budokan. | REUTERS

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