By Gary Anderson

Japanese athletes dominated the medal count at the WKF Premier League event in Okinawa ©JKFan/WKFJapan made home advantage count in Okinawa as 10 gold medals went the way of the host nation during the World Karate Federation Premier League meeting, which saw Iran and France as the only other two nations to top the podium.

The Japanese dominated in all four kata categories while claiming six of the 10 kumite gold medals on offer at the Okinawa Prefectural Hall of Martial Arts.

Kiyou Shimizu and Rimi Kajikawa contested the women's kata senior final, with Shimizu coming out on top, while Yoko Kimura and Vietnamese Ngan Nguyen Hoang took the bronze medals.

All four medals in the men's kata senior category went the way of the home side, with Ryo Kiyuna getting the better of Itaru Oki in the gold medal match.

Chikashi Hayashida and Issei Shimbaba claimed bronze.

Those performances helped Japan to top the kata team standings in the women's competition followed by Vietnam and France.

Kiyuna was joined by Arata Kinjo and Takuya Uemura atop the men's standings followed by compatriots Koji Arimoto, Takato Soma and Takumi Sugino, while Mexico trio Enrique Arturo Estrada Jimenez, Waldo Ramirez and Daniel Vargas took bronze.

The Japanese stranglehold on gold medals was finally broken when Nadege Ait Ibrahim of France defeated Ayumi Uekusa in the women's over 68 kilogram final, with Sena Higashi and Iran's Hamideh Abbasali taking bronze.

The first of three gold medals for Iran came in the women's under 68kg class as Pegah Zangeneh Karkooti prevailed in her clash with Turkey's Merve Coban, while China's Lingling Tang and Mai Shiina of Japan secured bronze.

It was business as usual though in the other three female kumite categories.

Japanese athletes made use of home advantge at the Okinawa Prefectural Hall of Martial Arts to win 10 gold medals ©JKFan/WKFJapanese athletes made use of home advantage at the Okinawa Prefectural Hall of Martial Arts to win 10 gold medals ©JKFan/WKF




Chinatsu Endo proved too strong for Turk Serap Ozcelik in the final of the under 50kg class; Miki Kobayashi followed suit by defeating Tuba Yakan in the under 55kg category, while the under 61kg title was claimed by Mayumi Someya after overcoming Fatemeh Chalaki of Iran.

Iranians went on to claim two of the five men's kumite titles on offer in the form of Iman Sanchooli and Amir Mahdi Zadeh.

Sanchooli denied Turkey yet another title by overcoming Enes Erkan in the over 84kg category, with bronze medals going to Japan's Hideyoshi Kagawa and Argentine Franco Recouso.

Brazil's Brose Douglas lost out to Mahdi Zadeh in the under 60kg final, while Indonesia's sole medal came via bronze for Suryadi Suryadi, with home favourite Shintaro Araga picking up the other.

However, the Japanese started as they finished by claiming the last three gold medals on offer.

Hiroto Shinohara had too much for Iranian Hossein Samandarzavieh to take the under 67kg title, with Turk Omer Kemaloglu and Nihat Nguyen Van of Vietnam the bronze medallists.

Turkey picked up its final medal of the event as Serkan Yagci and Ken Nishimura took bronze in the under 75kg category, which saw Ryuichi Tani getting the better of compatriot Rikiya Iimura in the final.

The final medal in Okinawa was claimed by Ryutaro Araga, who bested Georgios Tzanos Michail of Greece in the under 84kg decider, with Iranian duo Zabiollah Poorshab and Ali Fadakar taking home the bronze medals.

The next Premier League event takes place in Istanbul, Turkey on September 6 and 7.

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