Hong Kong’s Grace Lau will be up against Turkey’s Dilara Bozan for a bronze medal on Thursday evening, after finishing second in her pool in the women’s solo “kata” competition.
The competition is karate’s first foray into the Olympics, with 10 karateka performing routines at the Nippon Budokan arena, the spiritual home of Japanese martial arts in Tokyo.
Practitioners demonstrate offensive and defensive techniques against a virtual opponent, choosing from 102 forms with esoteric-sounding names like Chatanyara Kushanku and Suparinpei that they yell out before they begin.
The execution of the three-minute kata, which come from the four main styles of karate – Goju-Ryu, Shito-Ryu, Shotokan-Ryu and Wado-Ryu – is scored based on speed, rhythm, balance, sharpness and other factors.
Lau scored 26.40 – with a technical performance score of 18.48 and an athletic performance score of 7.92. Her bronze medal contest begins at 6.30pm on Thursday.
As expected, the gold medal contest will be between the "queens of kata", Japan’s Kiyou Shimizu and Spain's Sandra Sanchez.
Their averages were 27.70 and 27.43, respectively, head-and-shoulders above the rest, while their tied, table-topping scores in the ranking rounds confirmed them as the finalists. (Additional reporting by Reuters)
Grace Lau to battle for bronze in kata competition
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