Follow USA Karate at the Tokyo Olympic Games
by USA Karate
All photos were provided by the athletes as they share the highlights of their day.
Headed to Tokyo
Training at our host city, Koga
Fariba Madani - Referee
Sakura Kokumai - 5th Place
Sakura Kokumai has been the first USA Karate athlete to compete in the Olympic Games. Surrounded by excellent worldclass kata performers like Sandra Sanchez (Spain), Shimizu (Japan), Viviana Bottaro (Italy) and Grace Lau (HK), etc…Sakura did an outstanding performance starting with kata Chatanyara No Kusanku on the first round with a score of 25.42 and kata Papuren with in the second round with a score of 26.08. Then in the Ranking Round she performed Chibana No Kushanku with a score of 25.54 placing in the 3rd position.
She faced Vivviana Bottaro from Italy in the Bronze medal match and lost with a 25.40 score. Although her kata were executed with a great deal of power, precision and explosiveness in the techniques, it was not enough to win the bronze medal. Sakura Kokumai has become an icon in the sport of karate around the world and she proved at the Budokan the excellent technical level that made her famous.
Ariel Torres - Bronze Medal
After an impressive qualification tournament in Paris during the last month of June, Ariel Torres came to Tokyo being one of the candidates to “steal” a medal from the group of favorites athletes in the Male Kata division.
With an impressive Kururunfa kata with score of 26.40, Torres became the first Male Karate athlete performing at the Olympic Games. In the following rounds Ariel Torres performed kata Ohan Dai with a score of 25.98 to qualify for the ranking rounds. In the ranking round, Torres performed kata Anan Dai with a score of 26.46 and qualify for semifinals match in the evening against Antonio Diaz from Venezuela. Torres won the first Olympic medal in the history of USA Karate with performing kata Anan.
Tom Scott - 7th Place
Tom “Captain America” opened the Kumite division for the USA Athletes in the Tokyo 2020 Games in the -75Kg class facing opponents from Japan, Germany, Italy, Ukraine, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Austria, Egypt and Azerbaijan. During the Round Robin matches, Scott opened the weight division facing Ken Nishimura from Japan, Karoly G. Harspataki from Hungary, Stanilav Horuna from Ukraine and Egy Abdelaziz from Egypt.
With victories over Hasrpataki (8-3) and Abdelaziz (7-6) and defeats with Nishimura (2-0), Horuna (2-1), Tom Scott couldn’t qualify for the semifinals rounds but left a great impression. Scott has been a leader in the sport of karate in the USA for many years and definitely an example for the upcoming generations and eyes on LA2028.
Brian Irr was the last member of the USA Karate Olympic Team to step on the mat at the Budokan in the +75Kg Kumite division. This division was packed with big and explosive athletes from Japan, Turkey, Iran, Germany, Croatia, Georgia, Saudi Arabia, Canada and Kazakhstan. With a tie against Daniel Gaysinsky from Canada (0-0), and defeats again Tareg Amendi from Kuwait (4-1) Safad Ganjzadeh from Iran (6-0) and against Ivan Kresic from Croatia lost (3-1) and suffered a broken nose. Irr fell short and didn’t pass into the semifinal rounds.