Defending champions Italy progress to the women’s kata final as team competition provided the focus of the second day of the European Karate Championships in Novi Sad, Serbia.
Sara Battaglia, Terryana D’Onofrio and Michela Pezzeti impressed for the Italian team at the Sports and Business Centre Vojvodina.
They beat hosts Serbia and Germany by 5-0 scores in their opening two matches, before overcoming Turkey 3-2.
Their reward is a gold medal contest against Spain, whose team of Lidia Rodriguez Encabo, Raquel Roy and Marta Garcia Lozano beat France 4-1 in the semi-finals.
Spain could be on course for double gold in team kata, with their men’s team of Francisco Jose Salazar, Jose Manuel Carbonell and Sergio Galan having beaten Turkey 3-2 to reach the final.
They will add to the country’s impressive medal tally in the event, with Spain having won four golds and five silvers in the past 10 years.
The Spanish team will face Russia in the gold medal match.
Spain’s team of Pablo Arenas, Raul Cuerva, Samy Ennkhaili, Jose Rafael Ibanez-Saenz, Alejandro Molina, Babacar Seck Sakho and Jagoba Viziuete also reached the men’s kumite final.
They will meet Turkey, who claimed a surprise semi-final victory of Azerbaijan by a 3-1 scoreline.
Italy progressed to the women’s final, with Sara Cardin, Clio Ferracuti, Silvia Semeraro and Laura Pasqua combining to good effect.
The Italian team edged Turkey to qualify for a first final at the Championships since 2010.
Their opponents will be Switzerland, who saw off Slovakia by a 2-0 scoreline in the semi-finals.
Para-Karate European Championships were also held for the first time as part of the event.
Visually impaired, intellectually impaired and wheelchair categories were contested.
Kosovo are sole absentee from the event, after their team were denied entry to Serbia twice at the border.
It came as part of an ongoing political tension between the two countries, after Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008.
In response, the European Karate Federation insisted they were "working hard and striving to make sure all athletes are able to compete".
Pere Miró, IOC deputy director general, told insidethegames the organisation had launched an investigation into the case and that they were "ready to take the necessary measures to avoid this situation being repeated".
While the Kosovo karate team were not permitted to enter the country, they are currently represented at the European Olympic Committees seminar, which is taking place in Belgrade.