Baku Premier League Carnival WKF Karate 2022
Baku has drawn a line under the Premier League tournaments of the current season. For the first time, the capital of Azerbaijan hosted such a prestigious start, which turned out to be truly exemplary in terms of organization. Well, many karate stars performed as soloists on the tatami, confirming their high status.
Four athletes represented Budo-Nord at the competitions – Galina Melnyk (68 kg), her partners in the Ukrainian national team Andriy Toroshenko (84 kg), Rizvan Talybov (+84 kg), and the Portuguese Thiago Duarte (75 kg). Among them, Melnik and Talybov showed the best result, winning bronze medals, while Toroshenko and Duarte finished fifth. And now let’s dwell on the performance of karatekas in more detail. At the group stage, Melnik beat Turkish Sudenir Aksoy (6:3), Sweden’s Linni Bauren (9:0) and lost to Madeleine Schroeder from Germany (0:3). Two wins allowed Galina to reach the playoffs. In the quarter-finals, she lost to Italy’s Silvia Semeraro (0:2), who reached the final, and Melnik took advantage of her chance to win bronze, beating Assel Kanai from Kazakhstan in the fight for the medal.
And the winner in the category up to 68 kg was the leader of the Azerbaijani team, Irina Zaretskaya, who beat Semeraro in the final – 4:4.
Meanwhile, R. Talybov (+84 kg) inflicted a crushing defeat on Sudhir Sekhravat (8:1) at the group stage and lost to Gogita Arkaniya with a difference of two points – 1:3. In the playoffs, Rizvan lost to Mahmoud Taha from Egypt (0:2), but retained a chance for bronze and was able to use it. The victory over the Turk Fatih Sen (3:0) brought the Ukrainian karateka a bronze medal.
In turn, Toroshenko (84 kg) at the group stage defeated the Japanese Junia Eto (4:0), Ruben Henao from Colombia (4:1) and the Turk Ugur Aktash (3:1). In the quarter-finals, Andrey lost to the representative of Egypt, Youssef Badawi (1:4), and in the fight for bronze, he lost to the owner of the tatami, Turgut Hasanov.
And, finally, T. Duarte (75 kg) in the course of the tournament achieved a victory over Lorenzo Petromarki with a difference of one point (5:4), and the duel with the Hungarian Gabor Harspataki ended with a score of 1:1. But the playoffs were unsuccessful for Thiago: at first he lost to Eren Akkurt from Turkey (2:3), and in the fight for bronze he lost to the representative of Ukraine Andriy Zalipny (0:2).
It is gratifying that all Budo-Nord karatekas scored rating points, and at least they all left the group.
The Azerbaijani national team acted in a businesslike way, presenting three winners at once at the Premier League stage. Irina Zaretskaya (68 kg) was joined by Asiman Gurbanly (+84 kg) and Aminaga Guliyev (60 kg). If the victory of the first athletes could have been predicted, Guliyev’s first place was somewhat unexpected.
In kata, Japan has traditionally held a high bar, and in the men’s final both finalists were from this country: Kakeru Nishiyama won the title, and Moto Kazumasa won the silver medal. In women’s kata, Hikaru Ono confirmed her skills, and in kumite, Ayako Sato (+68 kg) moved up to the top step.
In total, 348 participants from 58 countries performed in the Baku Premier League, and the stage was the last one this year. This was confirmed by the President of the World Karate Federation (WKF) Antonio Espinos, who became the guest of honor of the tournament.
On the eve of the start of the Premier League, he held a press briefing and shared his opinion on the return of karate to the Olympic program. “Now we are working to include karate in the program of the 2028 Games in Los Angeles. To be honest, I don’t have an answer as to why our species was excluded. Karate looked great in Tokyo, received good press support, and there is every reason to return to the Olympics again. At the moment, the WKF includes 200 countries, development does not stand still and this is one of the most spectacular sports,” said Espinos.
Read more about Halyna Melnyk.