By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Azerbaijani athelete Irina Zaretska has won a gold medal at Karate1 Premier League held in Paris, France on 24-26 January.
Competing in 68 kg weight category, Zaretska won a victory over the current U21 World Champion Feryal Abdelaziz of Egypt with the score of 3-0.
She had defeated Chinese Gong Li with the same score in the quarterfinal.
Zareska’s other opponents in the competition were Andrine Hilton from Norway in Round 2 (2-0) and Andrijana Vasovic from Serbia in Round 3 that ended with the national athlete’s spectacular win (8-0).
After a tense duel in the final, Zaretska said: “I was a little nervous in the final but was able to concentrate. I managed to push harder and to give all that I could to win the final. This year I want to take as many points and as many gold medals as I can.”
The competition also served as qualification event of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Note that Zaretska is first in WKF World ranking and is a top-ranked athlete in the Olympic standing.
Over 700 competitors from 92 countries competed at the event. Points gained in the event will influence the practitioners’ ranking and ultimately their qualification for the 2020 Olympics.
There will be eight karate gold medals up for grabs at Tokyo - men's kata, women's kata and three different weight classes for both men's and women's kumite events.
Over the past years, Azerbaijani karate athletes have been the winners of a number of prestigious international tournaments, European and World Championships.
The National Karate Federation of Azerbaijan, founded in 1994, became a full member of the World Karate Federation in 1997. WKF is the largest and most powerful karate organization in the world, comprising 183 countries and more than 50 million members. In 1996, the National Karate Federation joined the European Karate Federation (EKF).
WKF is the only karate federation recognized by the International Olympic Committee, whose main objective is to combine the basic style of karate under the general rules of the competition and enter into the program of the Olympic Games.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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