Karate1 Premier League Paris Recap
With the debut of Karate in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the clock is running out for athletes across the globe to qualify. Paris is one of six events that remain for karatekas to earn points toward qualifying for this historic Olympic Games. According to the WKF, this event is also the beginning of new regulations within the sport of karate: athletes must now wear karate gis with brands embroidered on the shoulder and whether they perform “Aka” or “Ao”. These new regulations come about to aid in the visual recognition of athletes starting here at the Paris Open (WKF).
Following their Senior Team Trials, USA Karate ventured overseas once again to compete at the Karate1 Premier League which took place in Paris, France from January 24th – 26th. Team USA was represented by 13 athletes competing against 741 total competitors from 92 countries. The Paris Open is the largest WKF Premier League of the year and has brought about some great matches and tough competition with 2020.
Sakura Kokumai (Kata) was incredibly successful on her first day of competition moving into the Bronze medal match on Sunday, where Kokumai placed fifth. Jessica Kwong (Kata) placed 13th overall in Elite Female Kata.
Gakuji Tozaki placed 7th overall after three rounds of competition. Mason Stowell and Ariel Torres were both defeated after the first round of competition, placing 25th and 19th in Male Kata respectively.
Brian Hilliard (-67kg) defeated Australia 1-0 in the first round but fell in the second round to the Republic of Korea. Brian Ramrup (-67kg) was defeated 0-2 to Belarus in the first round. Tom Scott (-75kg) was defeated 1-2 in the first round against Portugal. After receiving a bye in the first round, Brian Irr (+84kg) went on to defeat Iran 8-0 before falling 0-1 to Curacao.
Brandi Robinson (-55kg) fell 0-3 in the first round versus Hungary. Skylar Lingl (-68kg) defeated Slovenia 3-0 in the first round, defeated the Ukraine 3-2 in the second, but ultimately fell 1-3 to Russia in the third round. Cheryl Murphy (-68kg) won 1-0 in the first round versus Italy but fell in the second in a close 1-1 match against Serbia. Cirrus Lingl (+68kg) received a bye in the first round, following, she defeated Algeria 2-2 before falling to Bulgaria 1-3 in the third round.
In the end, Team USA finished with two Top 12 finishes for the 2020 Paris Open. Soon Team USA and countries all across the globe will return to Paris May 8-10 for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Qualification Tournament, the last stop on the road to the Olympics for karate. Team USA will be bringing Ariel Torres (Male Kata), Sakura Kokumai (Female Kata), Trinity Allen (-55KG), Elisa Au (-61KG), Cirrus Lingl (+61KG), Brian Hilliard (-67KG), Tom Scott (-75KG), and Brian Irr (+75KG) in May.