Karate at Tokyo Olympics: Spain's Sanchez wins gold in women's kata; Goranova wins in women's kumite

Sánchez has dominated her discipline in Europe for the past seven years, making her a fitting first champion in the Olympic debut of karate.

Sandra Sanchez Jaime of Team Spain celebrates after winning the Women’s Karate Kata Final Bout at the Tokyo Olympics on Thursday.   -  Getty Images

Sandra Sánchez of Spain won the first Olympic gold medal in karate, beating Japan’s Kiyou Shimizu in the final matchup in women’s kata.

The 39-year-old Sánchez scored a 28.06 in the final bout, her screams echoing off the walls at the Budokan as she put in a spirited demonstration of karate form. Shimizu’s score was 27.88.

Sánchez has dominated her discipline in Europe for the past seven years, making her a fitting first champion in the Olympic debut of karate. The martial art is in the Olympic program on a temporary basis in Japan after a half-century of attempts to gain Olympic recognition.

Grace Lau of Hong Kong, China, and Viviana Bottaro of Italy won bronze.

Ivet Goranova won Bulgaria’s first gold medal at the Tokyo Games and the first Olympic karate gold medal in kumite competition, beating Ukraine’s Anzhelika Terliuga in the final of the women’s 55-kilogram division.

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The 21-year-old Goranova won the final bout 5-1, scoring two yukos in the opening minute and adding a waza-ari with 1:16 left. The 2019 European champion qualified in June for the inaugural Olympic competition in karate at the Budokan.

Chinese Taipei’s Wen Tzuyun and Austria’s Bettina Plank took bronze. Wen lost a thriller to Terliuga in the semifinals despite making a last-second rally to tie it.

France's Steven Da Costa defeated Turkey's Eray Samdan to win the gold medal in the men's karate "kumite" competition in the -67kg category.

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Kazakhstan's Darkhan Assadilov and Jordan's Abdel Rahman Almasatfa won the bronze medals.

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