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Egyptian triple
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 25 - 04 - 2019

IN THE KARATE 1-Premier League that took place in Rabat, Morocco, from 19 to 21 April, three Egyptians collected medals. In the male kumite -67kg, Ali Al-Sawi upset Grand Winner Burak Uygur of Turkey to claim his third consecutive gold medal in the Premier League, beating his opponent 2-1.
In the semi-finals Al-Sawi, trying to recapture the title in Rabat, beat Japan's Nakano Soichiro (2-2) by hantei, or decision.
“I'm very happy to win my third gold consecutively. You have to fight till the end. You must stay focused and not despair. This is what you could see in this bout. You have to use the most of your abilities, your legs and your kicks until the bout is finished because every second counts,” Al-Sawi said.
Hesham Abdel-Gawad collected the bronze in the same weight category, joining his teammate Al-Sawi after overcoming Japan's Soichiro Nakano 2-0 for the third place playoff.
In female kumite -61kg, Giana Lotfi of Egypt lost the gold medal to China's Xiaoyan Yin in a bout for the domination of the category by two yuko, 2-0. Two-time world champion Lotfi had edged Laura Sivert of France in the semi-finals by decision.
“This is my third final this year in the Karate 1-Premier League. I am very happy to be in the final again but very sad to lose the gold this time,” said Lotfi who has taken two silver medals this season.
Radwa Sayed lost 2-0 in the final to Turkey's Serap Ozcelik who qualified for her third Karate 1-Premier League final this year. Ozcelik, the winner of the two first events of the season, fought for her third consecutive title following a forceful showcase of abilities in Rabat.
The current Grand Winner of the female kumite -50kg from Turkey beat Bettina Plank of Austria by decision to claim her fifth medal in six events this year. Her rival in the quest for gold will be Egypt's Sayed who surprisingly qualified for her first final of the Karate 1-Premier League after her title in Rabat two years ago. The 22-year-old karateka defeated Belarus' Mariya Koulinkovitch in the semi-finals 4-1.
The Karate1-Premier League is the most important league event in the sport.

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