Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, Karate | Spain’s medal options as seen by Jamal Belmir, Eurosport expert

Sandra Sánchez will open the participation of Spanish karate in some Games, a sport that premieres in this edition of Tokyo 2020 and that will cease to be Olympic in Paris 2024. Talaverana is world champion in 2018, five times European champion, world ranking leader of kata and just entered the record books as the karate fighter with the most medals in history. With this service sheet, La Manchega will be the Thursday, August 5, starting at 03:00 (peninsular time), the rival to beat in the women’s kata test with the Japanese and two-time world champion Kiyou Shimizu.

Damien Quintero, for its part, will compete Friday, August 6, also from 03:00 (peninsular time), the male kata. The world runner-up in 2016 Y 2018 Y world number one will be in a fight for the medals in which Ryo Kiyuna, his executioner both times, is the top candidate for gold.

Damien Quintero

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Jamal Belmir: “Sánchez and Shimizu, the gold is reduced to them two”

The expert of Eurosport and former karate fighter Jamal belmir analyzed the great medal options for Sandra Sánchez, which he considers his “favorite”, without “forgetting” the Japanese Kiyou Shimizu. The duel for the gold between the two would be the “expected final” for world karate.

“First of all, you have to know that she is the oldest in karate kata, she is 39 years old, Sandra Sánchez holds a longevity record since she has been on the circuit for more than 20 years. She is my favorite but we must not forget the Japanese Kiyou Shimizu, it comes down to two, “Belmir commented.

The Spanish is more powerful and the Japanese more precise, the difference will be small

“Kiyou Shimizu was world champion in 2014 and 2016 and lost in 2018 to Sandra Sánchez in Madrid. These Olympic Games will therefore be synonymous with revenge: in 2018, at home, we can say that Sandra Sánchez transcended herself to beat the Japanese, but here it will be the opposite, in a mythical stadium, the Nippon Budokan, which was built in 1964 for the first Olympic Games, “he added about the rivalry between the two.

“It will be a long-awaited final. In karate, there are several styles, but both have the same, the Shitō Ryu style. The Spanish is a little more powerful, does a lot of physical training, a lot of crossfit and weights. The Japanese is more round. , precision and balance. The difference will be reduced to very little. Actually, it will be the expert referees who will be able to decide between them, but the gold medal should be between Sánchez and Shimizu, “he concluded.

Sandra Sánchez during a kata at the Madrid World Cups (2018)

Image source: Imago

Quintero will have it difficult against an “unbeatable rival”

In the male kata, Belmir sees a step below Damián Quintero. The French considers Ryo Kiyuna “unbeatable” And, despite finding the Spanish in good shape and with medal options, he believes that it will be “difficult” to achieve a gold against the dominance in the last five years of the Japanese.

“Quintero is in good shape, there is no need to worry about it. On the other hand, the years can influence because he is one of the tournament’s veterans, he is 37 years old. Of the 82 athletes classified, there are 20 who are over 20 years old, Among them the Argentine Díaz, who is 41, and then there is Quintero. The Spanish has been playing all the finals against the Japanese Ryo Kiyuna for five years. It will be difficult for him to go for the gold medal because Ryo Kiyuna is really unbeatable, it is the world champion in 2014, 2016 and 2018 “, he pointed out.

“Quintero is runner-up in the world in 2016 and 2018 and beat Kiyuna once in competition for the TQO in Dubai. That was the only time and therefore I think he can qualify for a silver medal, but gold will be very difficult to achieve. especially in Japan, “Belmir finished.

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