Azerbaijan added two more karate gold medals to the two they won yesterday to finish top of the sport’s medal standings at the inaugural European Games.
Irina Zaretska and Aykhan Mamayev won the women’s kumite under 68 kilogram and men’s under 84kg titles respectively, following on from the successes of Firdovsi Farzaliyev and Rafael Aghayev just 24 hours earlier.
Zaretska claimed an 8-1 victory against Austria’s Alisa Theresa Buchinger to beat her opponent the gold medal, while Montenegro’s Marina Rakovic took bronze at the expense of Switzerland’s Elena Quirici.
"I can't even speak right now,” said Zaretska in the aftermath of her triumph.
“I just want to thank the Azerbaijani Federation that selected me for these Games, my coaches and everyone who supported me - everybody who is here.
"I lost in the preliminary round to her (Buchinger) and so I decided that I have to go all out, otherwise the result will be the same.
“So I gave everything I had and I won 8-1.
“I believed in myself - I knew I had the technique and I can do it."
Later in the evening, Mamayev came out on the right end of the judge’s verdict after drawing 1-1 with Greece’s Michail Georgios Tzanos.
The men’s under 84kg bronze medal went to Turkey’s Ugur Aktas, who denied Kosovo’s Alvin Karaqi what would have been a historic first medal for his country at their first-ever multi-sport Games under their own flag.
Spain, meanwhile, secured a clean sweep of gold medals in the kata events as Damian Hugo Quintero overcame Italy’s Mattia Busato in the men’s final and Sandra Sanchez Jaime defeated France’s Sandy Scordo in the women’s showdown.
Turkey finished third in both events with Mehmet Yakan staving off the challenge of France's Minh Dack in the men’s bronze medal match and Dilara Bozan cruising to victory against Germany’s Jasmin Bleul.
Elsewhere, Croatia took top honours in the women’s kumite over 68kg through Masa Martinovic, while Turkey’s karate gold medal tally was increased to three by Enes Erkan, competing in the men’s kumite over 84kg.
Martinovic romped to a 5-0 win against Turkey’s Meltem Hocaoglu to seal his gold medal success, with the pair joined on the podium by Russia’s Ivanna Zaytseva, who outdid Sweden’s Hana Antunovic for bronze.
As for Erkhan, he snatched a 2-1 win against Germany’s Jonathan Horne after the man he’d seen off in the semi-finals, Serbia’s Slobodan Bitevic, had lost to Macedonia’s Martin Nestorovski in the bronze medal match.
June 2015: Azerbaijan scoop double karate gold on opening night of European Games
May 2015: World Karate Federation announces qualified athletes for Baku 2015 European Games
December 2012: Exclusive: Karate close in on spot at 2015 European Games programme