Japan claimed eight gold medals in Indonesia to finish top of the medals table ©WKF

Japan topped the medals table as the World Karate Federation (WKF) Cadet, Junior and Under-21 Championships drew to a close in Indonesia’s capital city Jakarta.

A total of 36 gold medals were awarded across the three-day competition which saw a total of 1,411 competitors from 92 countries competing in fiercely fought competition.

It was Japan, however, who emerged as the top nation with eight golds.

Karen Furukawa led the Japanese medal rush as she delivered a series of impressive performances to reach the women’s under-21 kata gold medal bout, where she fought off the challenge of Spain’s Margarita Morata Martos to take the title.

Her success was quickly followed by a gold for Natsumi Kawamura in the women’s over 68 kilogram kumite event as she overcame Switzerland’s Nurija Karalik in the final, with Algeria’s Imene Atif and Denmark’s Sofie Abild claiming bronze.

Furukawa’s and Kawamura’s triumphs in their respective divisions will provide a boost to Japan with the events having been suggested as part of the karate programme for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, after the sport was one of five recommended for inclusion at the Games by the organiser’s Additional Events Panel.

Several Tokyo 2020 prospects were in action across the three days of competition
Several Tokyo 2020 prospects were in action across the three days of competition ©Facebook/WKF

While the sport awaits the final decision on whether they will be included at the Games, due to be made by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at tits Session in Rio de Janeiro next year, the WKF claim the Championship allowed their Executive Committee to work on developing the future of the sport.

The event marked the end of competitors having a protective mask for their face, claiming that improvements made to their rules have made it possible to remove the protection.

Additionally, the Championships also saw five divisions competing in each karate style for both the men’s and women’s competitions, rather than previous editions of the event which have seen the athletes compete in three weight categories.

The WKF believe the changes are set to help the sport to flourish as they look towards their potential Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020 and they believe the improvements will be visible at next year’s Senior World Championship, due to be held in the Austrian city of Linz in October.

Japan proved the most successful nation but the world governing body also pointed to the success of several other nations at the Championships with Turkey and Egypt claiming seven and six gold medals respectively, while the hosts Indonesia were able to celebrate a victory for Ahmad Zigi Zaresta in the junior men’s kata event.

The 10th edition of the Cadet, Junior and Under-21 Championships is due  to take place in Egypt’s capital city Cairo in 2017.

Related stories
November 2015:
 Karate's recommendation for Tokyo 2020 inclusion celebrated at event in Japan's capital