How special were these World Championships (November 16-21). Emotions galore, stars at the rendezvous, top coaches, Ura again and again, Yoko galore, many new faces...

They were already in history. Da Costa, Kiyuna, Sanchez, Prekovic, Arkania and Brose are even more so.

They charmed us with their karate or their character. Torres Garcia, Youssef, Hubrich or Badawy have enlightened these Worlds and posted great promises. And what about the Japanese Kata? Top art ! Dubai 2021 in brief and in videos.

By Ludovic Mauchien / Photos : Gokhan Taner - WKF / Videos: Karatekofficiel

Never give up !

arkania WKF

They are 37 and 35 years old respectively. Gogita Arkania and Douglas Brose won their 2nd and 3rd World Championships, 7 years after their last one ! For the Georgian, nothing is surprising as his level has been constant since the comeback after the pandemic. Horne and Ganjzadeh absent, he was the big favorite. Arkania dominated his subject and never looked worried during the tournament.( + +

Brose cri Douglas Brose

For the Brazilian, the task was more difficult. He went up in -75 kg for the OQT last June, he came back to “his” category, the -60 kg, for these World Championships. Not bothered by the change in weight, he surprised everyone with his accuracy and his moves ( Great champions never die. These two proved it to us.

Koji Arimoto, hats off !

kate eq japon WKF Koji Arimoto (right) and the Moto brothers.

He was world champion in 2012, with his partners from the Japanese team Kata, Soma and Sugin. He quit the high level in 2014. Since then, he worked as a sensei-coach at the JKS Dojo. In Dubai, Koji Arimoto became world champion again, this time with the Moto brothers.  ( + +

20 minutes of warm-up, a 2nd title

The 1st idea is always the right one. These World Championships were to take place at the Coca Cola arena, in the heart of Dubai. They were organized 40 km away, in the heart of the desert, at the Hamdan Sports complex. This magnificent building is none other than a ... swimming pool. We have seen some Karatekas float, others sink.

But, above all, it was the transport that sinned. Although it improved over the week, the first day of competition was a disaster. Shuttle delays caused the 1 hour competition to be postponed. For example, Irina Zaretska only arrived 20 minutes before fighting. Her bus was… more than 2 hours late. She was so upset that there was no need to rub it. And she won.

zaretska ura wkf

The “remontada” of the World

We saw some very beautiful things in Dubai, in particular some remontada coming from nowhere. The 2 most striking ? Those of Alexandra Grande and Sofya Berultseva, both in the fight for bronze.

The Peruvian was led throughout the match and launched a Ura Mawashi in the dying seconds. Final score : 6-5. The Kazakh lost 7-1. It was over for her. No ! She finally won 11-7, notably thanks to a sublime Ushiro Ura Mawashi geri jodan with 1 second remaining.

She defeated the Covid

3 weeks ago, she was declared positive for Covid. Her participation was strongly compromised. In Dubai, the Dutch Lynn Snel won the bronze medal, her 1st world medal. (

The medal-winning siblings

Besides the Moto brothers, gold medalists with the Japanese kata team, several siblings stood out. The French Steven and Jessie Da Costa, medalists in -75 kg and -84 kg ; Italians Gianluca and Daniele De Vivo, world team kumite champions, and Azerbaijani brothers Hasanov, bronze medalists.

The Kvesic brothers have missed the boat. Andjelo (+84 kg) wins the bronze but Ivan (-84 kg) fails at the same stage.

Kiyuna force 4

Kiyuna 2 wkf

Three-time world champion and reigning Olympic champion, Ryo Kiyuna of Japan has made karate history forever. By winning a 4th world title in a row, he becomes the first kata athlete to achieve this performance. Note that in 2012, he had already won bronze. (

Da Costa force 8

Steven Da Costa get it right in the -67kg final. A Yoko, 2 sweeps, an 8-0. Amazing ! Emil Pavlov, two-time European champion in -60 kg, could only see the damage ( Before, in the ½ final against the Japanese Nakano, the Frenchman had released one of those Ura Mawashi of which he has the secret, for a 3-2 win ! Hats off, the artist ! 

( +

da costa steven ura jap wkf Steven Da Costa won 3-2 in his 1/2 final thanks to this Ura

Triple crown for Da Costa, Prekovic, Sanchez and Kiyuna

They were 4 to be able to achieve the triplet world champion, Olympic champion, world champion. None missed.

Steven Da Costa (-67 kg), Jovana Prekovic (-61 kg,, Sandra Sanchez and Ryo Kiyuna (kata) achieved this feat by flying over their category.

It is their premiere !

They are 20 years old and are not afraid of anything. Egyptians Youssef Badawy (-84 kg, and Ahlam Youssef (-55 kg, won the world title for their first participation.

Dastonbek Otabolaev (-75 kg, and Spain’s Maria Torres Garcia (+68 kg, + also won their 1st world crown.

Uzbek brings back the 1st title in history to his country. Even in the absence of Busa and Asgari, it was not to be missed. Aghayev (, Horuna and Scott were there.

In Men’s Kumite, Italy won the 1st world title in its history with a new generation packed with talent.

It was also a premiere for Thomas Scott, bronze medalist in -75 kg. Since 2010 and his 1st individual Worlds, the American had not yet made it.

They do the double

miyahara wkf Miho Miyahara

In addition to the Big 4, two other champions managed to keep the title won in 2018 in Madrid. Japan’s Miho Miyahara (-50 kg, and Azerbaijani Irina Zaretska (-68 kg, +

Successful coaches

Behind the athlete, there is always a coach. Whether he is sensei, friend, wife/husband or coach, he plays a vital role in the athlete’s results. Douglas Brose paid a heartfelt tribute to his wife by kneeling in front of her as he exited the mat. Irina Zaretska and Gogita Arkania, who won their second world title, never forget to mention their bodyguard, Denys Morozov and Nika Tsurtsumia.

You never see Sandra Sanchez Jaime without her husband, the successful coach of the Spanish kata (4 more Finals in Dubai), nor Steven Da Costa without Olivier Beaudry or Jovana Prekovic without her coach.

In the performance of Maria Torres Garcia, it is impossible not to note the arrival last spring of Irene Colomar, like that of Ivan Leal and, at these Worlds, Oscar Vasquez among the Spanish team.

Shara Hrubrich will have to get used to work without Thomas Nitschmann ( He was the German coach for the last 17 years. He will be replaced by a shock duo, Noah Bitsch and Jonathan Horne.

Special mention for Hany Keshta, the coach of the young Egyptian Ahlam Youssef (-55 kg) and the Kumite women team, all crowned world champions.

Last minute forfeit

Luigi Busa, who was injured in training ten days before the start of hostilities. The Iranian team caught up by the Covid, forced to forfeit in its entirety. And without all these aesthetes, the party is not the same. That’s 8 of the 2018 medalists and 2 Olympic champions at home. Obviously, this skews the situation a bit.

Japan dominates the world

With 4 gold, 1 silver and 2 bronze, Japan dominated these World Championships. The podium of nations is completed by Egypt (3, 2, 3) and Spain (2, 3, 0). Italy (1, 3, 5) finished 4th ahead of France (1, 1, 2). Serbia (1, 1, 0) is 6th, Azerbaijan 7th (1, 0, 2) and Brazil, Uzbekistan and Georgia 8th (1, 0, 0).

If we only consider Kumite, Egypt finishes well in the lead (3, 2, 2) ahead of Italy (1, 3, 1) and France (1, 1, 2). In kata, Japan (3, 1, 0) finished ahead of Spain (1, 3, 0). Note that these 2 countries have monopolized all the finals.

The bronze of renewal

So many of them have won their 1st world medal in Kumite that we cannot name them all. But that’s one of the highlights of this 25th edition, especially the bronze medalists who, for the most part, had never been on a podium at the world championships.

6th final in a row for the French Kumite team

France’s Kumite Women team played its 6th consecutive world final in Dubai ( World champions in 2010, 2012, 2016 and 2018, they finished in silver this year, as in 2014.

Au, Panetsidou and Horuna elected to the Athletes’ Commission

In parallel to these World Championships, the election for the Athletes’ Commission was taking place. 3 new members join Douglas Brose, Antonio Diaz, Nguyen Hoang Ngan and the president, Davide Benetello. They are Elisa Au, Vicky Panetsidou and Stanislav Horuna. Congratulations !



 Maria Torres joie Sanan Maria Torrres from Spain, World champion in +68 kg (Photo : @karatephotobank)

Kata M

Final : Kiyuna (Jap) 28.38 b. Quintero (Spa) 26.66

Mattia Busato (Ita) / Ali Sofuoglu (Tur)


Final : Brose (Bra) b. Crescenzo (Ita), 3-0

Ogannisian (Rkf) b. Berthon (Fra), 2-0 / Jina (Mar) b. Alpysbay (Kaz), 5-5


Final : Da Costa (Fra) b. Pavlov (Mkd), 8-0

El Sawy (Egy) b. Tadissi (Hun), 2-1 / Nakano (Jap) b. Xenos (Jap), 5-4


Final : Otabolaev (Uzb) b. Abdelaziz (Egy), 4-3

Scott (Usa) b. Akkurt (Tur), 5-2  / Azhikanov (Kaz) b. Mahauden (Bel), 3-0


Final : Badawy (Egy) Huaiquiman (Chl), 6-6 (5-0)

J.Da Costa (Fra) b. I.Kvesic (Cro), 4-2 / Mori (Jap) b. El Chaabi (Mar), 2-0


Final : Arkania (Geo) b. Marino (Ita), 3-2

A.Kvesic (Cro) b. Seck (Spa), 5-0 / Gurbanli (Aze) b. Rojas (Chl), 5-2

Team Kata

Final: Japan b. Spain

Turkey b. France / Italy b. Marocco

Team Kumite

Final : Italy b. Serbia, 3-0

Kazakhstan b. Turkey, 3-1 / Azerbaijan b. Uzbekistan, 3-2



Final : Sanchez (Spa) 28.46 b. Ono (Jap) 27.42

Grace Lau (Hkg), 25.96  b. Aya Hesham (Egy), 25.0 / Viviana Bottaro (Ita), 26.66 b. Sakura Kokumai (Usa), 26.2


Final : Miyahara (Jap) b. Hubrich (Ger), 0-0

Elgewily (Egy) b. Elhayti (Mar), 2-2  / Kryva (Ukr) b. Zhangbyrbay (Kaz), 5-3

-55 kg

Final : Youssef (Egy) b. Trinity (Usa), forfeit

Chernysheva (Rkf) b. Rakhimova (Uzb), 1-0 / Goranova (Bul) b. Warling (Lux), 4-1

-61 kg

Final : Prekovic (Srb) b. Serogina (Ukr), 2-1

Grande (Per) b. Suchankova (Svk), 6-5 / Snell (Ned) b. Jumaa (Can), 5-2

-68 kg

Final : Zaretska (Aze) b. Semeraro (Ita), 3-3

Melnyk (Ukr) b. Buchinger (Aut), 3-0  / Agier (Fra) b. Bratic (Can), 2-1

+68 kg

Final : Torres Garcia (Spa) b. Okila Menna (Egy) , 5-4

Berultseva (Kaz) b. Perovic (Srb), 11-7 / Lesjak (Cro) b. Sachova (Cze), 3-2

Team kata

Final: Japan b. Spain

Egypt b. Portugal / Italy b. Peru

Team Kumite

Final : Egypt b. France, 2-1

Italy b. Japan, 2-1 / Colombia b. Montenegro, 2-1