Ryo Kiyuna extended his reign of dominance in the men's kata event ©Getty Images

Japanese sensation Ryo Kiyuna extended his reign of dominance in the men's kata event with a third consecutive Karate World Championships gold medal as Sandra Sanchez finally overcame Kiyou Shimizu to seal her maiden title in the women's competition here today.

Kiyuna lived up to his billing as the red-hot favourite by recording a comfortable 5-0 victory over Damian Quintero of Spain in the final.

The triumph for the world number one saw him maintain his monopoly of the kata discipline at the World Championships as he added 2018 gold to the titles he claimed in 2014 and 2016.

His victory came after Sanchez, backed by a raucous partisan crowd inside the venue, edged Kiyuna's compatriot Shimizu to in a closely-fought women's final.

Sanchez may have thought her chances of standing atop the World Championships podium were over but the 37-year-old produced a calm and composed routine to edge Shumizu, seeking a third straight gold medal, by a 3-2 split decision.

The verdict from the referees gave the Spaniard a rare victory over Shimizu, who will aim to avenge this defeat when the duo inevitably clash at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Japan claimed one more title on the opening day of finals as Miho Miyahara upset world number one Serap Özçelik of Turkey 3-1 in the women's under-50kg kumite category.

The Japanese team were earlier denied victory in the women's over-68kg kumite and later in the women's team and under-60kg events.

A visibly emotional Eleni Chatziliadou of Greece avenged her defeat to Ayumi Uekusa in Linz two years ago with a 3-0 triumph in the final of the under-86kg competition.

Spain's Sandra Sanchez was crowned world women's kata champion for the first time ©WKF
Spain's Sandra Sanchez was crowned world women's kata champion for the first time ©WKF

Lea Avazeri, Leila Heurtault, Andrea Brito and Laura Sivert then inflicted another defeat on Japan, securing their fourth straight gold medal in the team event with a 2-0 win.

Naoto Sago, himself considered an exciting prospect for the future, was another Japanese silver medallist as he met his match in the form of Angela Crescenzo at under-60kg as the Italian was on the right side of a 5-2 scoreline.

The success for the French quartet came after compatriot Steven Dacosta was crowned world champion in the under-67kg category following a pulsating final which provided endless entertainment for the spectators in the crowd.

In a rollercoaster contest, 21-year-old Dacosta eventually emerged with a 6-5 victory to condemn Brazilian Vinicius Figueira to the silver medal.

Germany's Jonathan Horne ended his long wait for a World Championships gold medal as he beat defending over-84kg champion Sajad Ganjzadeh of Iran 5-2 in another thrilling encounter.

Several upcoming stars also demonstrated their potential on the world stage as Serbian Jovanna Prekovic built on her superb form in the qualification rounds with an 8-5 win over China's Xiaoyan Yin in a high-scoring under-61kg affair.

Irina Zaretska of Azerbaijan, already a Karate-1 Premier League grand winner at the age of 22, triumphed at under-68kg.

Zaretska was declared the victor by the judges after her clash with Russian Victoria Isaeva ended 1-1 following the conclusion of regulation time.

France clinched their fourth women's team kumite title by defeating Japan ©WKF
France clinched their fourth women's team kumite title by defeating Japan ©WKF

Twenty-one-year-old Dorota Banaszczyk of Poland recorded one of the upsets of the day when she dispatched world number seven Jana Bitsch of Germany 2-0 in the final of the under-55kg division, while Ivan Kvesic of Croatia was awarded the under-84kg crown after Ukrainian opponent Valeri Chobotar was unable to compete.

Iran's Bahman Asgari Ghoncheh took the under-75kg honours, preventing Italian legend Luigi Busa from claiming a second world title, as he won a low-scoring bout 1-0.

Today also saw four Para karate world champions crowned as Spain enjoyed a clean sweep in the men's intellectually impaired category.

Antonio Gutierrez Rebato clinched gold, while Victor Arevalo Prieto and Carlos Huertas Riaz finished with silver and bronze respectively.

Salma Alaaeldin Ebrahim of Egypt won the women's intellectually impaired ahead of silver medallist Patricia Wright, whose Canadian team-mate Natalie Olson earned bronze.

Germany’s Helga Balkie was the recipient of gold in the women's visually impaired division as she beat Debora Knihs of Brazil in the final, while Russian Alexandra Meteleva did enough for bronze.

Yasushi Oba of Japan reigned supreme in the men's visually impaired event, topping the podium ahead of Azerbaijan's Sahib Ahadov and Moldova's Nicolai Bondarev.

The Championships here conclude tomorrow with men's and women's team kata finals, the medal contests in the men's team kumite division and men's and women's wheelchair finals.

To relive the entire day's action, check out our Live Blog here.