Egyptian Olympian, Feryal Abdelaziz, has just won the country’s first ever gold medal by a female competitor. The karateka triumphed over Azerbaijani Irina Zaretska 2-0 in the final for the Women’s Karate Kumite +61 kilogram competition at Tokyo’s Nippon Budokan arena on Saturday afternoon.
Despite the competition being intense and standing at “no score”, the Egyptian athlete was confident in her stance from the very beginning. 22-Year-old Abdelaziz ultimately took the lead with less than 30 seconds left and followed it up with another almost immediately. At the final buzzer, there was joyous cheering from Abdelaziz and her team.
Feryal Abdelaziz’s gold medal win came a day after Egypt’s Giana Lotfy claimed an Olympic bronze medal in karate despite losing her Women’s Kumite -61 kilogram semifinal bout to China’s Yin Xiaoyan. The karate Kumite event does not have a bronze medal match for those who don’t win in the semifinal, and both competitors share “third place” on the podium.
Only 20 seconds into the semifinal competition against Sofya Berultseva of Azerbaijan, both athletes scored a yuko, and Abdelaziz followed shortly with another to lead 2-1 with two of the three minutes left. Full of confidence, Feryal edged toward the final by taking a 3-1 lead halfway through the match. All the Egyptian athlete needed to do was maintain her focus, and would have taken home a silver medal at the very least.
Azerbaijani competitor Berultseva managed to draw at 3-3, after which Feryal Abdelaziz retaliated with quick yuko, pulling her into the lead again, and with 22 seconds left, she went 5-3 up. Another point for her opponent could not stop her win and her progression to the final, where she was set to meet Iryna Zaretska of Azerbaijan. In her first match of the day, Abdelaziz beat Li Gong of China of 4-0, scoring an ippon, the highest score a fighter can achieve in a Japanese martial arts ippon-wazari contest, with just under a minute left in the match, following it up with another point with 22 just seconds left.