The new vintage is known ! The 2019 Grand Winners were announced after the Madrid Premier League last weekend (29 Nov-1 Dec).

Ozcelik (-50 kg), Uekusa (+68 kg) and Sanchez Jaime (Kata) are laureates for the 3rd time in a row ! In all, 6 Karatekas retain the title, including Aghayev (5 podiums, 1 win). 

A year that has seen exceptional performances achieved by Assadilov (9 podiums, 7 wins in K1), Aktas (8 finals, 6 wins in 2019), Ozcelik (11 podiums, 6 golds) and Terliuga (5 wins, 6 finals out of 7 possible in Premier League).

By Ludovic Mauchien / Photos: Kphotos


They are the "best of the best" of the year, the 2019 "Grand Winners". Created in 2014, the "Grand Winner" of the year was awarded at the end of the 7th and last Premier League in Madrid last weekend. In all, 9 countries (out of 12 categories) have "Grand Winners". Turkey, Azerbaijan and Japan are the only nations to have 2 winners. An award ceremony will take place at the Paris Open - Premier League (January 24-26).

-60 kg : the sensation Assadilov

He had won only one Premier League before this year. Like all the Kazakh team, Darkhan Assadilov exploded in the sight of everyone. The financial support generated by Olympism and, consequently, the improvement of the training conditions allow him to express his full potential at 32 years-old. At the best moment...

Darkhan Assadilov was simply imperial throughout the season as he finished it World n°1 and Olympic n°1. Of the 12 competitions he contested, he finished 9 times on the podium and won 7 times ! Very discreet character, the man of the steppes externalized himself on a tatami. Mawashi Chudan, Ura Mawashi Jodan... He has fun. He gives us fun !

-67 kg : Steven Da Costa, Premiere !

This is done ! He had not been "Grand Winner" yet. At 22, the World and European champion won the title of “best fighter of the year” in -67 kg. And moreover, with a surgery and a rehabilitation during the season !

A distinction he owes to a smashing start (2 wins in Paris and Dubai), his continental gold, a 3rd wins in Moscow in early October and a bronze finish in Madrid.

-75 kg: Who is the boss ? It's Aghayev

It was very close. We needed the Madrid Premier League last weekend to know who will be the 2019 laureate. Rafael Aghayev ended up retaining the title of "Grand Winner" won in 2018, at the expense of Ken Nishimura this time.

With 5 podiums earned (1 win) in Premier League and 2 silver medals at the European championships and the European Games, he is ahead of the Japanese on the lead (3 podiums including 2 wins in Premier League, Asian champion). At 34, Rafael Aghayev showed again who the boss is !

-84 kg: Lunar Aktas !

Before the Madrid K1, a little doubt remained about the identity of the winner. Ugur Aktas does not like doubt. He has removed it in the most beautiful way, by silencing all adversity. He won ! A summary of his season.

12 competitions, 8 finals, 6 wins, including the European championships. World n°1 and Olympic n°1, the Turkish fighter seems on another planet.

+84 kg: Ganjzadeh, heavy winner

He has everything ! Vista, leg speed, experience, physics to trick the opponent... Sajad Ganjzadeh, 3-times World finalist (gold in 2016) is again "Grand Winner", his 2nd title after 2017.

World n°1 and Olympic n°2 (behind Aktas), the Iranian champion has been extremely consistent throughout the season to finish in style in Madrid with a 3rd Premier League win. In all, he has accumulated 8 podiums (in 11 competitions).

Kata : Kiyuna joins Quintero

Damian Quintero was "Grand Winner" in 2016 and 2017. Ryo Kiyuna has to tie up with his old fellow opponent. Winner last year, he renewed his lease this year. How could it be otherwise ? The Japanese Kataman did not even come to the last Premier League in Madrid. 7 tournaments, 7 wins. 6 Premier League and the Asian championship. Next !

-50 kg : Ozcelik the 3rd

10 podiums out of 12 possible, 6 wins over 7 in Karate 1. The record of Serap Ozcelik is similar year after year ! Moreover, she pocketed her 3rd title of "Grand Winner" in a row. World n°1 and Olympic n°1, the Turkish chip has taken over the category. She may never have appeared so strong.

-55 kg : Terliuga on another planet

She may have missed a podium the European championships but that's about it. 5 wins out of 7 possible in Premier League, a silver medal at the European Games, Anzhelica Terliuga (27 years old) flew over the -55 kg. World n°1 and Olympic n°2 (behind Ozcelik), the Ukrainian has made a strong impression throughout the season.

-61 kg : Imperial Yin

Xiaoyan Yin wins a distinction that she already knew in 2017. World n°1 and Olympic n°1, the discreet Chinese has accumulated 8 podiums, including 5 wins in 2019. Asian Champion, she won 3 Premier League, of which the last in Madrid. At 26, she is becoming more and more the leader of this category so rich in talent.

-68 kg : Zaretska on the rise

She had to win in Madrid to secure a 2nd Grand Winner title. Irina Zaretska did not fail. Last weekend, she won her 3rd Premier League in a row, thanks to a visibly excellent summer background training. The World champion, Olympic n°1, became unstoppable during the 2nd semester.

+68 kg : Uekusa is the best !

It is her less achieved season and yet she is still ahead ! For the 3rd year in a row, Ayumi Uekusa is "Grand Winner", thanks to 4 podiums including 2 wins (Paris, Tokyo). World n°1, Olympic n°3, the World silver medalist Japanese remains the most regular of all.

Kata : Sanchez Jaime on the wire

It was so close ! The one who won the final of the Madrid K1 - because they were obviously in the final - became the "Grand Winner" 2019.

And the winner is… the World champion Sandra Sanchez Jaime, who preceded Kiyou Shimizu for the 3rd year in a row. The Spanish European champion, medalist at the European Games, 6 wins and 3 finals in Karate 1, has once again achieved an extraordinary season.

The 2018 ranking


-60kg : Eray Samdan (Tur)

-67kg : Burak Uygur (Tur)

-75kg : Rafael Aghayev (Aze)

-84kg : Ugur Aktas (Tur)

+84kg : Jonathan Horne (Ger)

Kata : Ryo Kiyuna (Jap)


-50kg : Serap Ozcelik (Tur)

-55kg : Sara Cardin (Ita)

-61kg : Gwendoline Philippe (Fra)

-68kg : Alizée Agier (Fra)

+68kg : Ayumi Uekusa (Jap)

Kata : Sandra Sanchez (Spa)


The 2017 ranking


-60kg : Sadriddin Saymatov (UZB)

-67kg : Andres Madera (VEN)

-75kg : Stanislav Horuna (UKR)

-84kg : Ryutaro Araga (JPN)

+84kg : Sajad Ganjzadeh (IRI)

Kata : Damian Quintero (SPA)


-50kg : Serap Ozcelik (TUR)

-55kg : Anzhelika Terliuga (UKR)

-61kg : Xiaoyan Yin (CHI)

-68kg : Irina Zaretska (AZE)

+68kg : Ayumi Uekusa (JPN)

Kata : Sandra Sanchez (SPA)

The 2016 ranking


-60kg : Emad Al Malki (KSA)

-67kg : Vinicius Figueira (BRA)

-75kg : Majed Alkhalifah (KSA)

-84kg : Valerii Chobotar (UKR)

+84kg : Morgan Moss (RSA)

Kata : Damian Quintero (SPA)


50 kg : Kateryna Kryva (UKR)

-55 kg : Syakilla Salni Jeffry Krishnan (MAS)

-61 kg : Ingrida Suchankova (SVK)

-68 kg : Elena Quirici (SWI)

+68 kg : Anastasiya Stepashko (UKR)

Kata : Terryana D'Onofrio (ITA)