Breaking – Kiyuna wins the gold medal in the Men’s Karate Kata, bringing home Okinawa’s first Olympic Gold Medal

Breaking – Kiyuna wins the gold medal in the Men’s Karate Kata, bringing home Okinawa’s first Olympic Gold Medal

Ryo Kiyuna’s championship performance – Nippon Budokan

August 6, 2021 Ryukyu Shimpo


The Karate Men’s Karate Kata event was held for the first time in the Olympics at the Nippon Budokan on August 6, the 15th day of the Tokyo Olympics, and its first champion was Okinawan-native Ryo Kiyuna (31 – Konan High School, Okinawa International University, Ryuhouryu Ryueikai) was crowned the event’s first champion after defeating Spain’s Damian Quintero score of 27.66 with his own score of 28.72. This is the first time an Okinawan has won a gold medal in any event.

In the elimination rounds, Kiyuna competed in Pool B, posting a score of 28.26 for his Ohan in round one and 28.40 in round two for his Anan. Out of 11 competitors in Pool B, Kiyuna was the only one to score over 28, and with an average score of 28.33 he easily passed through the elimination rounds in first place. In the ranking round he scored a 28.72 for his Anan Dai, holding the top spot in Pool B. Hi Ohan Dai in the final highlighted his wire-to-wire domination of the event.

Ryo Kiyuna was born July 12, 1990. Since his third year in junior high, he has been studying under Tsuguo Sakumoto, 73, who was also the manager of Japan’s men’s kata Olympic team. This is his third-straight world championship. In December of last year, he also won his ninth-straight All-Japan championship.

This is the second medal won by an Okinawan at this Olympics after Shohei Yabiku (26 Urasoe Kogyo High School, Nippon Sport Science University, ALSOK) won the bronze in the Men’s under 77kg Greco-Roman wrestling.


Comments from Kiyuna: A message to his late mother, for the dreams of children in Okinawa

“I want to give thanks for being on this podium. I could not have done it alone. Now… I have to give thanks for everything. First, I want to be able to tell my (late) mother that I was victorious. I want the children of Okinawa to know that if they follow their dreams and never give up that they can succeed.”


(English translation by T&CT and Sam Grieb)


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