New year, and new championships! The Gi has hardly dried up before it is once again ready for a major tournament. One can see that it can be smart with more time between all the major tournaments. Not only refers to this case, this was seen throughout the current season as well. Anyway, 24 nations in 8 categories, are ready to kick off the 2020 season – almost there it ended.
There is a very high frequency of hosting major championships around the world. Unfortunately, we continue to moan about this topic. But we do since many people notice it, as well as see what it does to the tournament structure. Instead of getting tournaments that build each other up – you get tournaments that compete with each other to “hijack” athletes.
Another factor is that it is advantageous to give the athletes time for recovery, too, peak their physical condition into the next championship – after proper rest.If you suffer from too little recovery – then injuries will soon come, which in turn will bring everything in the opposite direction than what everyone wants.
Categories and fighters – the number of fighters?
The categories – based on the weight categories used in World Championship in weight categories, and of course All Japan Open JFKO, gives us an unusual composition, and a somewhat uneven number of fighters in the categories. And when it comes to number of fighters in categories and the regulation, it’s kind of strange how this turn out.
“Because it is very difficult to check who is who we have decided there will be no limit on the number of fighters from a country or organisation. However we ask all teams to limit their team in maximum 2 competitors in each weight category because there are only a limited amount of places available. Therefore we count on your cooperation.” (EFKO website link)
That’s fair enough, but when some countries enters with 3-4 fighters in the same category (from the same org.) it’s safe to say that the excitement are leaving the championship. And as we mention leaving – some of the top fighters have left the tournament the last days. We speculate that Shinkyokushin EC start April will be more important – when we know that it will be the qualifying tournament to World Weight Championship in Poland 2021. And it could also be that some of them need rest after going hard championships late in 2019 – two world championship for an example. But this is only speculations.
all tournament info: https://efko.kyokushin.events/
The line up in total remind us about the Diamond Cup – not only related to that the organizer, time and place are identical – but the fighters. In the lightest weight category for women – 50 kg, we must sadly admit, that this time it does not work, only five fighters in a category. This in a tournament that aims to be a top tournament, and with a purpose to challenge, test and qualify fighters for even a higher task. This is nothing new, the same thing was experienced in the Kwu EC in 2018, organized close to the EKO Open-weight EC.
Under 50 kg category .Five fighters and five nations. Ukraine, Great Britain, Lithuania, Hungary and Spain. The good thing about the category would be that the fighters contains a decent level. Hayley Beth Rowlands / Great Britain – runner up world championship and Alona Veresniak / Ukraine – European champion in 2018, would be the highest merited fighters that could go all the way.
In the 50-55 kg category the number of fighters are 12. Poland and Spain with 3 fighters from different organizations, the other nations with one fighter each. In this category we have several profiles, and high merited fighters. World champion from 2018 Teona Gazdelina / Spain, did also reach the Kwu WC final recently in 2019.Anna Izdebska / Ukraine – also on the WC Kwu podium recently also EC WKB champion. Poland god good fighters, and most merited would be Agnieszka Winek. EC champion in several organizations, and did also win the Wkb world Cup in October 2019. Agata Kozubowska – been on the EC podium Eko, but not gone all the way – yet.
Adults Women 55-60 Kg have 19 fighters, once again Poland strongly represented with five fighters – and among them we do have some tittle holders. Lithuania – always very good fighters, like this time also. Rūta Brazdžionytė and Erika Rukšėnaitė, both well rounded, and specially Rūta Brazdžionytė with several podium captures. Valence Bickel from the Netherlands, have EC and WT tittles in the Kwf and should be able to bring some heat to the game. A very up an coming good fighter to look out for will be Mirjam Björklund / Sweden – the reign U-21 EC champion.
In the heaviest weight category, + 60 kg, 22 fighters are ready. This category is a mixed category by the fighters fighting in the -65 and the + 65 kg category on the regular basis. The category have many different kind of champions from EC’s World Championships / Cups and more. Lithuania with three fighters – Brigita Gustaitytė – recently Kwu World Champion – and that in a very convincing way. Aneta Meskauskiene – also highly merited. Camille Haddouche / France, Csenge Tóth / Hungary
Aleksandra Karpuk / Poland, Chelsea Kerklaan / The Netherlands – all with EC/WT podium results. On top of that we have many very good fighters without “big medals” as a result of competing in high level tournaments where the meals are hanging high.
In the men’s division, the lightest category – 65 kg, we got 12 fighters. Poland in with four fighters, Konrad Kozubowski, Filip Szeller and Daniel Sternik, all decent fighters, well rounded and experienced. Sergo Movseyan / Georgia – became the World vice champion recently in the Kwu world championship – that should count in. Cristian Boldut / Romania – veteran of the game, been in the game for a long time, technical, experienced – it’s all there. Khayal Nuriyev / Azerbaijan – been on the EC Shin podium (2019) that alone is an achievement. This category will be high pace technical fighting – and despite that it is the lightest category – the will be no lack of power.
Adults Men 65-75 Kg, 28 fighters, and maybe one of the hardest category to pull trough. Top nations brings in large teams with many very good fighters. Lithuania, Romania, Georgia got some real firepower into the category – and not to forger World Champion Salahat Hasanov / Azerbaijan. As in other categories, besides the top names , several strong fighters are in – and with a high average in the total, it will be demanding to advance in the tournament. Lithuanian team with Domas Sutkus – who took the second place in the Kwu world championship i December 2019 – will be one follow. The Romanian team are represented by Ashihara karate and Shinkyokushin. From the Shin team we have reign U-21 champion Dominick Dombi to follow, but as the “team captain” we would point out George Suciu – proven to take on top fighters, also above his weight-class as we witness in the WT in Japan) Georgian team with two fighters Lasha Ozbetelashvili and Tengiz Bastoiani – both very strong, Bastoiani been on the EC podium a couple of times.
Adults Men 75-85 Kg, 19 fighters. Once again the Lithuanian team are strongly represented, in number as well as in level. Fur fighters in this category. Ec champion in Kwu, Jean-Paul Jacquot will for sure be a factor – and he do have the capacity to go the way into the final. Orestas Abazorius / Lithuania entered the Ec podium in 2019 in the -95 kg category – now he is in -85 kg category, so it will be interesting to see. Rasmus Bergström / Sweden will be a factor, he will face the winner of Belarus fighter Ec champion kwf Raman Bubeleu and the veteran from Poland Marek Odzeniak.
Adults Men +85 Kg, the heaviest category have 14 fighters. The Lithuanian team got 4 fighters in this category, and some of the highest merited fighters they have active. Eventas Gužauskas,Antanas Klibavicius and Paulius Žimantas – all these three can go all the way, and it would not be a surprise if it becomes a Lithuanian final. Others in the category will of course be the veteran Jan Soukup / Czech Republic. The skills has been there – it will depend on it still is – besides the the physical aspect, as a normal factor passing 40. But anyway – it’s really great to see him in the line up!