The European Karate Championship Shinkyokushin is closing in, The categories being filled up, and goals are set for the first EC Shinkyokushin in Sweden!

Closing in to the European Championship in Sweden, we can see that the support from all over Europe are very satisfying. 21 nations with 200 seniors athletes + eleven Kata teams as well. All the categories are solid, in number as well as in quality. And the host, Sweden, are raising a sensational team, where there is a good range in addition to those you already know from previous EC championships.

2023 – a World Championship year – will always inflict the major tournaments as European Championship. Some – all ready qualified and will not attend, and tactical choice within the team/nation.

What can we expect?

Looking into the division and the categories, we can spot that in some categories we will see a new European Champion. With that we mean, previous EC champions are not in the line up (maybe for some of the reasons we mention above, or retirement) and that will make the top spot open for a first timer! Of course, we got some EC champions from the U-21 category, and tittles taken in other organizations.

Veterans and young blood

The mix of up and coming and established athletes are a really good mix – and on top of that we do have some real veterans also! Brian Jakobsen / Denmark – has been competing in six World Championship Shinkyokushin in Japan! (since 1999 in other words) When we speak of Denmark, it is notable that they have a solid team, fight as well as Kata.

We might also use the term “veteran” when it comes to Valeri Dimitrov / Bulgaria as well. He is a inspiration for all of us, and what it means for the team – when you have a person like him there. ..that said, there is only one Valeri Dimitrov, he is unique in every way. How far can we count him in this time? The 75-85 kg category are stacked with fighters – 23 fighters from 15 nations in the line up, and some real strong ones as well.

Strong nations with large teams

Lithuania and Poland have great teams, in number as well at the top level. Lithuania with 29 athletes and Poland with 27. It is also very nice to see that Ukraine and  Hungary also reach above 20 athletes – and as mentions, the host Sweden have a 18 persons large team. Some one would remember that Swede did hold a large team in 2017 – when Denmark was the host, and that is correct: 22 athletes BUT remember that was included juniors at that time (6 of them) – so that means Sweden have the largest team we’v seen them have ever.

30 fighters in one category

We can not overlook the 65-75 kg category with 30 fighters. That’s a quite high number of fighters when we think of the total number of categories is five. 16 nations are represented in this category alone, and the category have the full specter of level when it comes to merited fighters and up and coming. To compare from EC 2022 – then the category had 22 fighters.

Also the category above, 75 – 85 kg have a decent number of fighters, 23 fighters from 15 nations – comparing to last year. 18 fighters. These two (around the middleweight) will on regular basis be the most crowded, so this is kind of natural. But also for an example the heaviest category +95 kg – also raises the number with 5 fighters since last year. It is very satisfying to see that all categories have a decent number of athletes, which is very important to keep the quality and value of an European Tittle.

Reign Champions in the line up

Only in the heaviest category women, +65 kg do we miss the reign champion Monika Zielińska / Poland. The rest of the categories have the reign champions ready: Brigita Svinkūnaitė / Lithuania -50 kg, Teona Gazdeliani / Georgia -55 kg, Lili Mezo / Hungary -60 kg and Berta Szalay / Hungary. In the heaviest category the rest of the podium from 2022 are intact Csenge Tóth / Hungary, Marija Sekunda / Lithuania and
Katarzyna Jaśkowska / Poland.

In the men’s division we have the same situation – only the heaviest category miss the reign champion ( Eventas Gužauskas / Lithuania) rest of the categories have their reign champions in the kine up: Andrei Zinchenko / Georgia -65, Lasha Ozbetelashvili / Georgia -75 kg, Valeri Dimitrov / Bulgaria -85 kg, Edgard Sečinski / Lithuania. In the heaviest category +95 kg – Paulius Žimantas / Lithuania and Máté Dávid / Hungary are in the line up, both at the podium last year – and we would not be surprised if they end up on the podium this time as well.

Link to official web-page